New Delhi: At the upcoming 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit, starting October 26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is promising African nation heads a rose garden, quite literally.
Fallen into disuse, the National Rose Garden has been given a fresh lease of life by the New Delhi Municipal Council. As a symbol of Indo-African friendship, the Indian government will dedicate it to participating nations. The garden was earlier maintained by The Rose Society of India.
Although it’s located on both sides of Shanti Path near Satya Marg, only one side of the garden is being developed for the summit. “We are redeveloping close to three acres on one side for the upcoming event,” an NDMC official said.
Landscaping is on at war footing. The civic agency has pressed into service over 100 labourers. The garden will be renamed India-Africa Friendship Rose Garden and inaugurated by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on October 25.
Time is a constraint, but the civic agency is planning a complete revamp of the garden. It’s planting 70 varieties of English roses. “There are 140 rose beds in the garden. Along the walkways, we are placing trellises for rose creepers. We have ordered varieties from Chandigarh and Saharanpur. Some of the best hybrids will be on display,” an official from the horticulture department said.
The civic agency is also reviving the eight ponds in the garden. “We have ordered lotuses, lilies and other aquatic plants. The work should be over in the next 3-4 days,” said an official.
The summit will be attended by 42 heads of state from Africa, marking the largest ever presence of foreign leaders on Indian soil since NAM in 1983. NDMC officials say members of all participating nations will be present at the inauguration. “Ambassadors or high commissioners of all nations will be given saplings to plant in the garden. It is a symbol of friendship between Africa and India. This was a collective initiative of the external affairs ministry and NDMC. It will be a world class rose garden,” NDMC chairperson Naresh Kumar said.