A tractor of goodwill for Zulu king
The Farmtrac tractors are produced by India's leading tractor manufacturer‚ Escorts Ltd‚ and were presented to the Zulu monarch by India's Minister for External Affairs‚ General V K Singh‚ who is on a three-day official visit to Durban.
In a statement released by the High Commission of India in Pretoria on Tuesday‚ the king's gift was described as a "symbolic of the mutual respect and goodwill that exists between the Indian and Zulu people‚ and in a broader context‚ India and South Africa".
The Zulu monarch‚ a keen farmer‚ has five farms scattered around northern KwaZulu-Natal. He has previously called on his subjects to return to farming and learn how to farm from others.
Singh's visit to Durban coincided with the 8th IBSA Trilateral Ministerial Commission on Tuesday‚ and he will also participate in the 17th meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Indian Ocean Rim Association – of which South Africa has assumed the chairmanship – on Wednesday.
In addition‚ he will meet with SA Minister of International Relations Maite Nkoana-Mashabane‚ for both to take stock of ongoing bilateral cooperation agreements between India and South Africa.
The Indian minister will later visit the Ramakrishna Abalindi Old-Age Home in Inanda‚ to inaugurate kitchen and dining-room facilities sponsored by his government‚ and the Phoenix Settlement – where he will inaugurate the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Information Technology‚ which has been funded and set up the Indian government.
Financial assistance for both these welfare projects was sanctioned following Indian Prime Minister Nahendra Modi's visit to South Africa in July last year.
Singh will also inaugurate "Gandhi Durban" – an exhibition that depicts the life of the Mahatma in Durban – at the Durban Local History Museum.