Zambias first President, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, on Thursday said that during his nearly six-decade-long career in politics, he had been greatly inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, India’s Father of the Nation, adding that he had followed with keen interest Gandhis method of non-violence in the struggle against injustice.
Indeed, his (Gandhis) message of passive resistance or non-violence, even in the face of extreme provocation, greatly inspired me. It was a teaching which he practiced both in letter and spirit in South Africa and India. I must confess that I was immensely touched and inspired by his wisdom, courage and inner decisiveness, as he fought for justice, equality and freedom for all, said Kaunda during a meeting with Indian Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari here.
The Indian vice president has since left Zambia for Malawi.
Recalling his first visit to India in 1957, Dr.Kaunda said that apart from the warmth that he got during his stay, his mission then was to learn from Indians how they had successfully fought for and achieved independence from British colonial rule.
That visit to India, was to all intents and purposes, enriching and instructive I returned home greatly inspired and determined to continue relentlessly with our freedom struggle I adopted the Gandhian way in our struggle for independence, said Kaunda.
He also said that India’s role in international relations was something worth emulating. And, as far as the African continent was concerned, it (India) was one of the four countries that had spearheaded the convening of the first Asian-African meeting, known as the Bandung Conference in April 1955 in Indonesia, at which the guiding principles for the Movement of Non-Aligned countries (NAM) was adopted.
Since then, Kaunda said, that India has played a leading role in international forums, making important contributions.
In particular, he said, he greatly valued the contribution of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her advice on many intricate issues affecting humanity, including the question of apartheid in South Africa.
In conclusion, he said both India and Zambia have held common positions on many issues within international institutions such as NAM, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the Group of 77. He said that it has been his view that both countries believe in the UN system as it was the appropriate forum for harmonizing actions and policies of governments around the world.