The Indian Navy frigate INS Trishul made its way to the South African port of Durban for a three-day goodwill tour to commemorate a number of significant occasions, including the 30th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between India and South Africa after almost four decades of apartheid.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a young South African lawyer at the time, was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg Station 130 years ago because he was in a compartment that was only for white passengers.
He started Satyagraha as a result of the incident, led the fight against oppression in both India and South Africa, and eventually became the Mahatma.
In addition, the trip is a part of India's Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a celebration of the country's 75th anniversary of independence.
“At a commemorative event in Pietermaritzburg, the ship's band will play some of the favourite bhajans of Mahatma Gandhi. They will also pay floral tributes at the plinth where Gandhiji was thrown out," said Consul General for India in Durban Dr Thelma David.
"We will also have Dr Bindeshwar Pathak (an Indian sociologist and social entrepreneur) there and he will speak on putting Gandhian thoughts into action through the Swacch Bharat campaign which we have adopted from the Gandhian movement," David added.
"Because the ship is here on a friendly visit, we will also be doing a donation and community activities at the Phoenix Youth Centre in Durban. The band will again play music for about 150 youth there. We will also have the men from the ship doing yoga on the morning of 9th," David said.
"We are encouraging schoolchildren and college youth to go on board to understand the capacities as a navy to bring peace on oceans and be briefed on her operational capabilities as well as the role played by the Indian Navy in maritime security in the ocean shared by our two countries. The visit would demonstrate to the public, especially the next generation, the friendliness of our two countries as well as the role and relevance of the Indian Navy as an instrument of bilateral relations," she said.
A round table discussion on Wednesday will also be held in collaboration with the Pietermaritzburg Gandhi Foundation and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
It will be called the Gandhi-Mandela-King Conference, after the three most important international leaders of the last century.