India was keen to strengthen its relations with Zimababwe and sharing expertise with African countries, said Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday, as he began the second leg of his three-nation Africa visit from Harare. The special Air India flight carrying Naidu landed at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Friday night. Naidu arrived here from Botswana.
Making it the first official visit of a high-ranking Indian Government to Zimbabwe in 21 years, Naidu was welcomed by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Cain Mathema and Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui.
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Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda had visited the African country in 1996.
From the airport, Naidu proceeded to a reception organised by the local Indian community in Zimbabwe.
Addressing the community members, Naidu said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had embarked on an ambitious programme to develop India and cited projects like construction of airports and upgrading of roads.
India is developing fast and would soon become the largest economy in the world, Naidu said, adding that the country had embarked on reforms, which were painful but bearing fruits.
Naidu said India was keen to work with Zimbabwe and the rest of African countries.
"India is keen to strengthen relations with Africa. Africa is at the top priority of India. We also want to work with Zimbabwe. I will hold discussions with the President Mnangagwa for improving our bilateral relations," he said.
The vice president also asked the Indian community in Zimbabwe not to forget their motherland.
"Everyone should remember their mother, father, culture, language and tradition. You can go abroad and work and learn but you should return. Do not forget your native place where you were born," he said.