Ansari leaves Malawi for Botswana

Lilongwe (Malawi), Jan. 9 : Vice-President Mohammmad Hamid Ansari left Malawian capital Lilongwe this morning after completing a fruitful three-day official state visit. Malawian Vice- President Joyce Banda and senior ministers and officials of the Malawian saw Ansari off from the Kamuzu International Airport.

The visiting dignitary was accorded a traditional Malawian send-off by folk dancers and drummers.

Ansari''s visit to Lilongwe saw the governments of India and Malawi signing three bilateral pacts, which New Delhi hopes will help to re-energise and re-invigorate ties. The two countries also committed themselves to realising all the goals set down on paper through these pacts. India used the visit to announce Lines of Credit and a grant worth 85 million dollars in total, to be used for socio-economic enhancement in various fields.

After landing at the Sir Sereste Khama International Airport in Botswana capital Gaborone for a three-day visit, Vice-President Ansari and his entourage will head straight for the Hotel Walmont Ambassador, where he will be briefed by High Commissioner Madhava Chandra on the current status of Indo-Botswana ties.

In the afternoon, the vice-president will call on the Vice- President of Botswana, Mompati Merafhe, for one-on-one talks, which will be followed by delegation-level talks and a signing of bilateral agreements.

On Saturday evening, he will attend a State Banquet hosted in his honour by Vice-President Merafhe.

On Sunday, the Indian delegation is expected to visit the Mowana Safari Lodge in Kasane. The Botswanian Vice-President will host a lunch for his Indian counterpart. This will be followed by a boat cruise down the River Chobe and a dinner later in the evening.

On January 11, the Indian delegation will undertake a jungle drive through the Chobe National Park. This will be followed by breakfast and a return to Gaborone. In the afternoon, the vice-president will visit the Diamond Trading Company (DTC). In the evening the vice-president will attend a reception hosted by High CommissionerChandra for the Indian community.

During the Indian delegation''s stay in Botswana, Mrs Salma Ansari will visit the SOS Children''s Village.(ani)