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Indian PM Modi retraces Gandhi's historic train journey in South Africa

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has marked an historic train journey by Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi during the final day of his visit to South Africa.

Mr Modi's ride commemorated the incident in 1893 in which a young Gandhi was ejected from a South African train when he refused an order to move from a first-class carriage because of his race.

The encounter shaped Gandhi's decision to resist racial segregation and other injustices with non-violent protest, first while living in South Africa and then in India.

Saturday's train ride, with Mr Modi sitting in a wood-panelled car with local officials, moved ahead under heavy security.

Mr Modi also opened an exhibition on Gandhi's life at the train station in Pietermaritzburg, where Gandhi was ejected.

India's government says it was the first country to cut trade relations with South Africa over its former harsh system of racial segregation, which lasted for decades and ended in the 1990s.

In Mr Modi's meeting with South African president Jacob Zuma on Friday, the two leaders paid tribute to what Mr Zuma called "two liberation icons", Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, who was elected in the first all-race elections in 1994.

Mr Modi has also met with members of South Africa's community of Indian origin, which numbers more than one million.

He moves on to Tanzania and then to Kenya on a four-nation tour meant to raise India's profile in Africa, where China's presence has been strong. He began his visit in Mozambique.



From Belfast Telegraph