President Kovind set to visit Ethiopia on maiden trip abroad

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    President Ram Nath Kovind is scheduled to visit Djibouti and Ethiopia from October 3 to attend a business event and an interaction with Indian community.

    President Ram Nath Kovind

    This is the first overseas visit of President Kovind and the first visit to Ethiopia by an Indian President in 45 years.

    The visit assumes significance as India plans to restart its engagement with Africa and Indian Ocean littoral states.

    While Ethiopia has been a traditional focus country for India in East Africa, Djibouti is growing in importance with China setting up its first military base there.

    Kovind's visit comes even as Chinese troops conducted the first ever combat exercise in Djibouti last week. Chinese troops have been stationed in Djibouti since August, but according to Chinese reports this is the first time China has conducted live fire exercises in a foreign base.

    "Ethiopia is the largest recipient of concession by India. We have given $ 1 Bn concession to Ethiopia in three sugar projects," said MEA General Secretary.

    The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday gave its nod for signing an agreement with Ethiopia on "cooperation in the field of information, communication and media".

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