Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
INDIA’s Vice President Shri Venkaiah Naidu flew into Zimbabwe yesterday and immediately pledged to strengthen relations between the two countries.
He said India was keen on sharing expertise with African countries.
VP Naidu landed at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport at 1920hrs.
He was welcomed by Vice President Kembo Mohadi, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Cain Mathema and Indian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui, among other dignitaries.
His visit is the first by a high-ranking Indian Government official in 21 years.
The last was in 1996 by then Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda.
From the airport, VP Naidu proceeded to a reception organised by the local Indian community in Zimbabwe.
VP Naidu briefed the community on developments back home, including the construction of airports and upgrading of roads.
He spoke of India’s desire to work with Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.
“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, His Excellency Mnangagwa tomorrow (today) and Vice Presidents to look at improving our bilateral relations,” said VP Naidu.
He said India was developing fast and would soon become the largest economy in the world.
VP Naidu said India had embarked on reforms, which were painful but bearing fruits.
He urged the Indian community in Zimbabwe not to forget home.
“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 also urged the Indians to respect the laws of countries in which they live.
“I advise you to follow the laws, regulations and customs of Zimbabwe.
“You should work hard, share with others, take care of the family and society,” he said.