During his two-day visit to Malawi, India’s Vice-President Shri Venkaiah Naidu was shielded from responding to any questions from the media.
Even when President Peter Mutharika suggested that his guest should talk to the press, after they had had a closed-door meeting at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, there appeared to be heavy protest from Naidu’s aide soon after Mutharika had left the room.
In a joking manner, Mutharika had told Naidu: “As a politician, I know that you won’t miss an opportunity to talk to the press. So feel free to talk to the media as you walk out. They are a friendly media!”
This development seemed to concern Naidu’s aide, who asked Minister of Education, Science and Technology Bright Msaka if there was any need for his Vice-President to be interviewed by the press.
Msaka told the aide that if the Vice-President didn’t want to talk to the press, he could merely read out a statement.
The discussions took place as the members of the media and the Indian government delegation were being guided to a specially-prepared room for the interviews.
It is believed that Naidu was being shielded from questions on the erection of a bust of India’s fallen nationalist Mahatma Gandhi in Blantyre. The matter has sparked controversial reactions from the public, who have argued that Gandhi had a dislike for black people.
In his statement later, Naidu mentioned the Indian Government’s plan to construct the Mahatma Ghandi Convention Centre in Blantyre.
During his meeting with Naidu, Mutharika said the Malawian and Indian governments enjoy a strong relationship.
“Our relations are based on shared interest and mutual trust. We are committed to seeing our relationship grow,” he added.
Naidu left last night, having arrived on Sunday through Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe.