India Prime Minister, Narendra Modi used the 74th Independence Day anniversary celebrations in Uganda to warn China that his country will answer aggression with a befitting response.
The recent Galwan Valley clash between India and China in the disputed Himalayan border area, which started on June 15, 2020, led to the death of at least 20 Indian soldiers.
In a written speech read in Kampala by the new High Commissioner of India to Uganda, Ajay Kumar, Modi praised the ”brave” Indian soldiers who he said died while defending their territory.
”Even while the world community needs to fight together against the greatest challenge [coronavirus] before humanity, some in our neighbourhood tried to carry out their misadventure of expansion. Our brave soldiers laid down their lives defending our borders. Those worthy sons of Bharat Mata lived and died for national pride…Their bravery in combat has demonstrated that while we believe in peace, we’re also capable of giving a befitting response to any attempt of aggression,” Modi said.
Kumar highlighted that India and the Indian community have been part and parcel of the revolving history of Uganda, with the relationship between the two countries firmly rooted at the political and bilateral relations, development corporations and governments, trade.
He said although this relationship suffered a setback in 1972 when the then Uganda President Idi Amin Dada ordered Indians out of the country, since 1979, he said, the relationship has been enhanced and is touching new heights following the visit of President Yoweri Museveni to India in 2015 and a reciprocal visit by the visit of Modi in 2018.
Kumar said Modi used his address to the Ugandan parliament to announce 10 basic principles of India’s engagement with Africa.
“That is very significant, he used Uganda as a platform to announce India’s whole basic principles for engagement with Africa,” Kumar said.
Following the April 9, 2020 phone call between Museveni and Modi, Kumar said India has since donated medicines, 44 utility vehicles to the government of Uganda, 20 laptops to the ministry of East African Affairs to strengthen it to perform its integration and 20 military vehicles will soon be handed over to the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF).
Kumar said every year, 150 Ugandan nationals from both private and public sectors are fully funded to go to India and spend 2-3 months at Indian corporations so as to acquire certain skills. Also, every year, 30 Ugandan nationals are offered long term scholarships.
Kumar added that while coronavirus pandemic has offered opportunities to the world to revitalize their economies and solve the existing issues of social and financial inequality.