NATIONAL

India, South Africa discuss UNSC reforms

Engaging in diplomacy on the sidelines of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) event here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had substantive meetings with Donald Ramotar, President of Guyana; Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa; and Showkutally Soodhun, Vice Prime Minister Mauritius.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is set to visit South Africa in the first quarter of this year to pursue opportunities for economic ties particularly in infrastructure and mining.

India and South Africa on Thursday discussed the need for UN Security Council reforms especially when 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the international body, Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs told a press conference here.

In his discussion with Mr. Ramotar, Mr. Modi assured a line of credit worth $ 60 million to Guyana for two road and ocean ferry projects in the Caribbean country. The Centre also decided to include Guyana in the list of countries whose citizens will get a visa-on-arrival facility. The facility of Electronic Travel Authorization (e-Visa) has also been introduced to save time.

A deeper engagement with Mauritius is also on the cards with the country inviting Mr. Modi to pay a visit on March 12.

Mr. Modi took a tour of ‘Dandi Kutir’ – a conical three-storey museum dedicated to Gandhiji – constructed in Gandhinagar. Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said it was the biggest exhibition in Asia.

Coins, stamps released

At the occasion, two stamps of Rs. 25 and Rs. 5 and two coins of Rs. 100 and Rs. 10 denominations were released in the memory of Gandhiji.

This years PBD will honour 16 NRIs with ‘Samman Awards’. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is among those awarded this year, will not attending the awards function on Friday.

“The award will be given to him in absentia,” Mr. Akbaruddin said.

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