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Modi visit will cement India-SA ties: South Africa FM

Maite Nkoana-Mashabane

Johannesburg: Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to South Africa tomorrow, the country’s foreign minister today said the visit will cement and strengthen the excellent relations that exist between the two countries.

“South Africa and India share common values and objectives which were forged during the struggle against colonialism and for liberation and democracy in South Africa,” said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation.

Modi will be in South Africa as part of a whirlwind five-day tour of Africa that will also take him to three other African countries – Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya.

“India played a leading role in isolating the apartheid regime, resulting in a shared history of friendship and solidarity,” Nkoana-Mashabane, a former high commissioner to India, wrote in the daily The New Age.

“India also provided consistent support to the liberation movement during South Africa’s struggle for democracy and was at the forefront within multilateral forums, such as the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement, in promoting international efforts towards South Africa’s liberation,” she added.

She also reflected on the impact that Mahatma Gandhi’s tenure in South Africa at the turn of the last century had on the resistance to the apartheid regime.

Nkoana-Mashabane said one of the key objectives of Modi’s visit would be to enhance commercial and business relations with India and to promote private sector-to-private sector contact.

“In this regard, a Chief Executive Officers’ Forum and a South Africa-India Business Forum are planned to be held during the visit to facilitate business opportunities,” she said.

“South Africa will also be exploring ways in which to increase and diversify our exports to India by identifying new areas of market access in areas including the defence sector, deep mining, renewable energy and the health sector.

“The business meetings will also serve to promote investment by Indian companies in South Africa through the identification of areas of investment and by investigating ways in which to simplify procedures for companies investing in South Africa,” the minister concluded.

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