Today, a misleading news article started circulating, alleging that the South African government sent a low-ranked minister to welcome Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport during the BRICS Summit 2023. This purported incident supposedly led to PM Modi refusing to get off his plane. However, an investigation into these claims reveals that they are false and appear to be aimed at damaging India’s global reputation.
The origin of the misinformation can be traced back to a local news outlet, Daily Maverick, which published a sensational article [archive]. The article implied that PM Modi’s apparent displeasure was due to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa personally welcoming Chinese President Xi Jinping while a lower-ranked official received PM Modi. Although the misleading article was deleted later, but unfortunately this narrative gained momentum on social media, as several accounts, including @zoo_bear, @SouthAsiaIndex, @ashoswai, @bainjal, and others, spread the news to tarnish India and Prime Minister Modi’s image.
South African Government’s Swift Denial:
The South African government promptly denied these claims. Vukani Mde, the spokesperson for Deputy President Paul Mashatile, denounced the story as “fabricated.” Mde provided a detailed account of PM Modi’s reception, asserting that Mashatile was aware of PM Modi’s impending arrival and was present before the aircraft landed. The timeline, as explained by Mde, negates any notion of a hasty arrangement and highlights the coordinated efforts in place. The swift and decisive response from the South African government underscores the strong diplomatic relations between the two nations. Contrary to the false narrative, it is customary for ministers to receive heads of state during working visits, a fact that had been communicated in advance to the Indian government.
Modi’s Grand Welcome:
Upon his arrival in South Africa, PM Modi was welcomed with warmth and respect by the Deputy President, Paul Mashatile. The Indian Community was also there to welcome him. The South African government greeted him with a traditional folk dance and a grand welcome, emphasizing the mutual respect and collaboration between India and South Africa.
Accurate Arrival Details:
The accurate account of PM Modi’s arrival paints a clear picture. The Deputy President’s spokesperson, Vukani Mde, revealed that Deputy President Paul Mashatile was informed well ahead of time about PM Modi’s arrival. Deputy President Mashatile had positioned himself at Waterkloof Air Force Base well in advance, even before PM Modi’s aircraft touched down. The aircraft’s communication with the base, 30 minutes before landing, allowed ample time for Deputy President Mashatile to be in position, dispelling any claims of last-minute arrangements.
To counter the misinformation, credible sources like www.wionews.com [archive] and www.news24.com [archive], both reputable news outlets, provided accurate coverage, debunking the false claims in an article where they talked with the South African authorities about the misleading news and clarifying about any diplomatic tussle thus shedding light on the accurate arrangements made for PM Modi’s welcome.
The circulation of false information regarding PM Modi’s refusal to disembark due to a ministerial welcome has been thoroughly debunked. The timely response from the South African government, detailed accounts from Deputy President’s Spokesperson Vukani Mde, and reports from credible sources set the record straight. Following comprehensive analysis and meticulous fact-checking, our team has investigated the claim. You can refer to the findings of this inquiry in the Twitter thread embedded below.
Claim: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to disembark his plane due to a low-ranked minister’s welcome in South Africa.
Fact: The claims are false and misleading, accurate timelines and official statements confirm that the Indian Prime Minister’s arrival was well-coordinated, and he was received by Deputy President Paul Mashatile in line with customary diplomatic protocols.
In our pursuit of accurate and unbiased information, we’ve diligently fact-checked the claims surrounding the incident. Misinformation can sow discord and disrupt communal harmony. Your support matters greatly in our mission to foster an informed and united society. Together, let’s strive to make India and Indians proud, upholding truth and unity. Jai Hind.