Prime Minister Nrendra Modi who is on a four nation visit in Africa undertook a journey by the historic train on Saturday which was taken by Mahatma Gandhi to Pietermaritzburg.
Gandhi was thrown out of the train when he refused to follow the order to move out of a first class compartment in which coolies and non-whites were not allowed to travel.
The Prime Minister will take the last 15 kms of the journey to Pietermaritzburg, besides visiting the Pheonix ashram.
“For me personally, this visit is an opportunity to pay homage to two of the greatest human souls to have ever walked this Earth – Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela,” said Modi in his first statement after reaching South Africa.
While addressing the Indian diaspora on Friday, Prime Minister noted that South Africa was the place where Mahatma Gandhi “conceptualised his politics” and is the “birthplace of Satyagraha”.
Describing South Africa as “karam bhoomi (land of work)” of Mahatma Gandhi, he said this country “transformed Mohandas into Mahatma”.
He said Mahatma Gandhi held South Africa dearly as he believed that he had got rebirth in this land.
Prime Minister addresses the resident Indians of South Africa and said that India is “one of the brightest spot in the global economy” and a “land of opportunities” for those who want to invest and have trade.
Seeking to strike a chord, Modi said as South Africa works for its economic prosperity, safety and security, it will find in India a “trusted and reliable partner”.
He said both India and South Africa face similar challenges and India is ready to join this country in its endeavours.
“India and South Africa are strategic partners. We should build a partnership that spans entirety of human endeavour,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi said his government is working in a campaign mode to create 500 million new jobs by 2022 besides transforming rural and urban areas of the country through infrastructure development.
“While the world is marked by slowdown, India has registered a growth of 7.6 per cent this year and we are working to grow even at 8 per cent in the years ahead,” he said addressing an estimated gathering of 11,000 members of the Indian diaspora.
India is working to achieve over 8 per cent growth in the coming years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here today, while attributing the rise of the country to HOPE — Harmony, Optimism, Potential and Energy.
Modi, wearing a ‘Madiba’ shirt identified with anti- apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, said India’s dynamism is not about mere words but it is driven by concrete action.
Prime Minister reached South Africa on 8th July where he held bilateral talks with South African President Jacob Zuma and signed crucial MoUs in the field of Technology, communication and tourism.
While South Africa has agreed to import and export technology in defence and mining sectors, India will provide medical assistance and support Africa’s HIV eradication programme.
After completing his visit in South Africa Prime Minister Narendra Modi will move to Tanzania and Kenya where he is expected to expand cooperation in the field of health and seek their support in mineral exploration techniques.