South African Prez Ramphosa arrives today, to be chief guest at 70th Republic Day parade
New Delhi, Jan 25: The national capital is all set to host the 70th Republic Day parade where the country will showcase its military might as well as its cultural heritage. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will begin a two-day India visit from Friday primarily to grace the Republic Day celebrations as the guest of honour.
Ramaphosa will be accompanied by First Lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe, and a high-level delegation including nine ministers, senior officials and a 50-member business contingent, the ministry of external affairs said.
He will be the second President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day. It will be Ramaphosa's first visit to India as head of state.
"President Ramaphosa accompanied by the First Lady, Dr Tshepo Motsepe will witness the Republic Day parade as guest of honour on January 26," the MEA said.
During the visit, the South African President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold extensive talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. Modi will also host a lunch for the visiting dignitary on January 25.
"The visit is expected to further strengthen and enhance the close relationship between India and South Africa," the MEA said.
Ramaphosa and Modi will also address the India-South Africa Business Forum on January 25. The South African President will also deliver the Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture being organized by Indian Council of World Affairs.
President Ram Nath Kovind will host a state banquet in honour of his South African counterpart on Friday evening.
"India and South Africa enjoy a close and multi-faceted strategic partnership since 1997, which is underpinned by historic, cultural and economic linkages," the MEA said in a statement.
About 1.5 million Indian origin people live in South Africa while over 150 Indian companies have invested in South Africa.
India is among the top five trading partners of South Africa. The bilateral trade has increased to USD 10.65 billion in 2018-19 from USD 9.38 billion in 2017-18.
Meanwhile, on the eve of Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind will address the nation on Friday. The address will be broadcast from 7 PM on the national network of All India Radio (AIR) and telecast over all channels of Doordarshan in Hindi followed by the English version. Broadcast of the address in Hindi and English will be followed by broadcast in regional languages by regional channels of Doordarshan.
Elaborate traffic arrangements and restrictions have been put in place in Delhi for the parade between Vijay Chowk and Red Fort grounds, police said. According to an advisory by the Delhi Police, the parade will start at 9.50 AM from Vijay Chowk and proceed towards the Red Fort grounds through the Rajpath, India Gate, Tilak Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Netaji Subhash Marg.