Kampala, Feb 22: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Thursday received a resounding welcome at the iconic State House of Uganda, as this East African country rolled out a red carpet for him with traditional tribal dance, choir music and a lavish banquet that had a dash of Indian cuisine.
The Vice President was received at the State House in Entebbe on Wednesday afternoon by President Yoweri Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni. Ansari arrived at the porch of the iconic white-pillared government mansion to tribal drumbeats and dance performed by artists dressed in traditional Ugandan dress. The two leaders then held bilateral talks and held a joint press conference there, following which he joined a select group of guests for the state banquet.
In the banquet room he was welcomed by a musical choir that first played the Ugandan National Anthem and followed it with East African Community Anthem. "In the menu served to His Excellency (Ansari) was Ugandana chappatim made specially for him, jeera rice, curry and other traditional African cuisine," a staff at the State House told.
Ansari arrived in the Ugandan capital last evening and met Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi at the Vice President Office here today and held bilateral talks to boost ties between the two countries. Later in the evening, he attended a business forum of Indian and Ugandan industry captains and a banquet hosted by the Ugandan Vice President at Hotel Serena where he is staying during his visit.
This is the first bilateral visit to Uganda from India since 1997 and Ansari described his meeting with business leaders as "very fruitful" and said the two sides need to engage further to boost cooperation. The Vice President along with wife Salma, is travelling with Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla, four MPs -- Kanimozhi, Ranvijay Singh Judev, Ranee Narah and P K Biju, and senior officials. The Vice President had said that this visit is part of a "conscious effort" by the Indian government to "intensify interactions" with Africa.