Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Genocide Memorial Centre located in Kigali on Tuesday, the second day of his two-day state visit to Rwanda.
Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the East African nation, paid tributes to the victims of one of the world’s most cruel instances of human conflict that left between 500,000 and 1 million people dead.
“Beginning the day on a poignant note! PM @narendramodi visits the Genocide Memorial Centre in #Kigali. The Memorial honours the victims of the worst excesses of violence,” wrote Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.
“It is also symbolic of the admirable and exemplary process of reconciliation Rwanda has embarked upon,” he added referring to Rwanda’s galloping pace of socio-economic development.
PM Modi was given a guided tour of the memorial which houses exhibits that display photographs, sculptures, documents and other memorabilia from the brutal days of the genocide against one of the two main ethnic communities of the East African nation.
The Genocide Memorial Centre in the capital city of the country which has a population of around 12 million describes itself as the “final resting place of 250,000 victims of genocide against the Tutsi”.
A civil war that broke out in 1990 due to long-standing clashes between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic communities of the country led to the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 during which extremists backed by the Hutu-majority government massacred lakhs of Tutu people. The civil war ended with the victory of the Tutu-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which was led by Paul Kagame – who has been serving as the President of the country since 2000.
After landing in Kigali on Monday, the Indian PM held wide-ranging talks with President Kagame and discussed measures to boost the bilateral strategic ties by strengthening cooperation in defence, trade and agriculture sectors.
Following delegation-level talks between PM Modi and President Kagame, India and Rwanda signed an agreement of $100 million for development of industrial parks and expansion of Special Economic Zones, and a similar amount for an agriculture irrigation scheme in that African nation.
India extended $200 million worth of lines of credit (LoCs) to Rwanda as PM Modi announced that first an Indian diplomatic mission will be opened in the East African nation.
Later in the day, the Indian PM also addressed a gathering of Indian community members in the country.
Hailing the diaspora as the country’s “rashtradoots (ambassadors)”, the PM underlined the contribution of the Indian diaspora is shaping developments around the world.
The Indian PM will now be heading to neighbouring Uganda and then fly to South Africa to participate in the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg which will also be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.