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Interesting to note at the conclusion of IAFS 2015, African leaders were in praise of India's first PM Nehru, whom PM Modi did not mention in his remarks.[/caption]
Mahatma Gandhi and former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi on Thursday came in for fulsome praise by many top African leaders as they recalled the historic ties Africa shared with India.
Interestingly, PM Narendra Modi himself did not make any mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, who is decribed by many as the architect of India-Africa relationsip.
As leaders of the African continent heaped their praise on Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi, PM Modi was a mute spectator, often swivelling back and forth on his chair, before leaving for bilateral meetings.
South African President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe were among those who mentioned, during their speeches at India-Africa Forum Summit here, the contribution of the Gandhi and Nehru families in strengthening ties between the continent and India.
"We would like to recall the historical ties that bind us over the last century, emphasising particularly the role of two of your visionary prime ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter, Indira Gandhi," said Zuma as he addressed the summit, attended by 54 African countries.
Calling Nehru an active participant at the famous Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955 and subsequently a founding member of the Non Aligned Movement in 1961, he said the principles enshrined in the Non-Aligned Movement were reflected in our South-South solidarity interactions in today's challenging times.
"Indira Gandhi, in her first 11 years in office from 1966 to 1977, changed India's African policy through the introduction of the Africa-India Development Cooperation and India's support for liberation struggles in Africa, including South Africa.
"The actions of these two Indian visionaries have created the base of strong solidarity between African member states and the Republic of India," he said.
In his address, Mugabe said Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru led the way through non-violence and showed the path to rid India and Africa of colonialism.
The 91-year-old Mugabe also termed the Indian National Congress as a "great party" as he recalled Africa's ties to Gandhi and the Congress.
Moroccan King Mohamed VI noted that his grandfather and "great" Nehru worked together in anti-colonial struggle in Africa.
Congress leaders including Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh had last night stayed away from the dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for African leaders, apparently sending a message that it was outraged over the "insult" to the legacy of Nehru.
Noting that calling such conference of African leaders was the idea floated by the Congress-led UPA way back in 2006, a senior Congress leader said the Prime Minister was projecting it as his "original idea".
(With agencies input)