S African prez Ramaphosa to be 2019 R-Day chief guest

S African prez Ramaphosa to be 2019 R-Day chief guest

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa during the G20 Summit, in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires. (AFP Photo/PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on the sidelines of the G-20 summit here and invited him to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations next year, which also marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The South African leader accepted the invitation to grace the occasion.

"Glad to have met President @CyrilRamaphosa. At a time when India is marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is our honour to welcome President Ramaphosa as the Chief Guest for the 2019 Republic Day celebrations. Bapu's close link with South Africa is well known," Modi tweeted after the meeting.

He said Ramaphosa's visit to India will further cement bilateral ties between the two countries.

"The upcoming visit of President @CyrilRamaphosa, and that too during the special occasion of India's Republic Day will further cement business and people-to-people ties between India and South Africa," Modi tweeted.

Following the meeting between Modi and Ramaphosa, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Ravish Kumar tweeted, "150 years of Mahatma & 100 years of Madiba!"

He was referring to July 18 this year, which marks 100 years since the birth of the global icon Nelson Mandela, also popularly known as Madiba, who died in 2013 at the age of 95.

Kumar further tweeted, "Good meeting between PM @narendramodi & South Africa President @CyrilRamaphosa on margins of #G20Summit. President Ramaphosa accepted India's invitation to be the Chief Guest at Republic Day during 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi."