India, South Africa agree to expand bilateral cooperation

   May 3, 11:31 am

Pretoria (South Africa), May 3 (ANI): India and South Africa have agreed to step up bilateral cooperation in areas such as trade, infrastructure, tourism and energy.

The move came soon after high-level talks between President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and her South African counterpart Jacob Zuma in Pretoria.

Earlier, the South African government held a special ceremonial reception for President Patil in Pretoria, following which Patil and Zuma addressed a joint press gathering revealing the details of their discussions.

Inviting India to boost South Africa's infrastructure program, Zuma called for enhanced bilateral ties.

"We would like to further enhance cooperation with India in a number of areas especially infrastructure development, training, trade and tourism. South Africa received enormous support and encouragement from India and our other BRICS partners, Brazil, Russia and China in our major infrastructure development plan. We once again extended an invitation to Indian business to invest in our infrastructure development program," said Zuma.

Meanwhile, Patil said there were several areas that were yet to be tapped and explored by Indian and South African businessmen to provide the much-needed impetus to bilateral growth.

"While expressing satisfaction over the current state of our relations, we did feel that considerable opportunities existed which are needed to be fully explored, particularly in the area of trade and economic cooperation. Indian companies are investing in capacity building by systematic training of South Africans, creating jobs and playing an important role in the development and economic growth of South Africa," said Patil.

In 2010-11, bilateral trade between India and South Africa was pegged at over 11 billion dollars. The trade turnover target is expected to reach 15 billion dollars by 2014.

India mainly exports mineral oil, textiles, chemicals and pharmaceutical goods to South Africa. New Delhi's main import from Pretoria remains gold. (ANI)

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