India, South Africa commit to strengthen ties, diversify areas of engagement

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Pretoria, July 8 (ANI Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday led bilateral talks between delegates, during which it was agreed upon that there was a vast scope for strengthening and deepening of relations between the two countries, especially in political, economic, scientific and socio-cultural spheres. The Joint Statement issued after the bilateral interactions here, said the discussions between President Zuma and Prime Minister Modi were held in the spirit of friendship, during which both leaders referred to the historical relations that the two countries share as well as the mutual struggle against colonialism and struggle. Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the current status of bilateral relations and asserted that there is still scope for the further strengthening and deepening of relations in the political, economic, scientific and socio-cultural spheres. "It was agreed that frequent and sustained contact between South Africa and India in mutually identified areas will serve to maintain the momentum of the bilateral relationship," the joint statement said. Recalling the comprehensive Strategic Partnership between South Africa and India, which was established through the Red Fort Declaration and reaffirmed in the Tshwane Declaration, both countries further committed to elevate efforts in achieving the goals set out in the Declaration noting that in 2017 the twentieth commemoration of the signing of the Red Fort Declaration will be celebrated. President Zuma and Prime Minister Modi also discussed intensified collaboration in the sectors of defence, energy, agro-processing, human resource development, infrastructure development as well as science, technology and innovation, the joint statement said. Both leaders further reflected on the huge potential to increase bilateral trade and to expand investment and agreed that both countries should examine obstacles to the promotion of mutual trade and investment. The leaders underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation between business entities of South Africa and India. They identified focus areas for deeper cooperation including manufacturing, mines and minerals, IT, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, tourism, Science and Technology (S&T) and financial services. Both leaders acknowledged the launch of International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a common platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries. Prime Minister Modi invited South Africa to the deliberations leading up to the formalisation of the Alliance. President Zuma furthermore invited the private sector of India to invest in various sectors of South Africa's economy. Likewise, Prime Minister Modi also called upon the South African private sector to consider investing in key economic sectors in India. The preferential trade agreement being pursued by the South African Customs Union and India were acknowledged with both leaders noting the contribution such an agreement will make to intensifying trade relations between Southern Africa and India. It is envisaged that the agreement will be concluded in the near future. (ANI)