Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad to Consolidate Bilateral, Political and Economic Discussions in India New Delhi, India Monday, 12 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

New Delhi - South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad will pay an official visit to India from Monday - Tuesday, 12-13 December 2005 where he will hold political and economic discussions with his Indian counterpart, Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh.

Issues on the agenda for discussion between Deputy Ministers Pahad and Rao Inderjit Singh are expected to include, among others:

· The status of bilateral political and economic relations;
· The contribution of India to the implementation of NEPAD;
· Developments in Africa including challenges and achievements;
· Developments within the Asian subcontinent; and
· Other issues of mutual interest including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations and the Hong Kong Round of the Doha World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations.

South Africa has identified India as a strategic partner in its efforts to achieve its objective of poverty alleviation and to address development domestically.

In this regard, three important agreements serve as the basis for the relationship between South Africa and India. The first is the Agreement on the Inter-Governmental Joint Commission for Political, Trade, Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technical Co-operation.

The second important foundation stone of the bilateral relationship between India and South Africa is the historic Red Fort Declaration on bilateral partnership that was signed in March 1997. The partnership is based on a common commitment to economic development, social justice and co-operation for a global order that is marked by peace, security and equity.

The third is the Delhi Declaration signed during the 2003 State Visit of President Mbeki, which reaffirms the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Most recently, Deputy Minister Pahad co-chaired the 6th session of the India-South Africa Joint Ministerial Committee in New Delhi on 5-6 December 2005 together with Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh.

India together with South Africa and Brazil constitutes the unique India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) trilateral forum. IBSA represents the consolidation of forces between the three major economic powers on each of their respective continents. In addition, these three countries have mutual views on fundamental issues impacting on the development of the South - the comprehensive reform of the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations, the current round of which is underway in Hong Kong.

South Africa and India also participated in the Asian-African Summit and the Commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Bandung hosted by Indonesia from 18-24 April 2005. Through the New Africa - Asia Plan of Action, African and Asian Heads of State and Government committed themselves to ensuring that the traditionally strong historical relations between both continents would be translated into stronger more dynamic economic relations that would contribute to the reduction of poverty and underdevelopment on both continents.

Whilst in India Deputy Minister Pahad is also scheduled to deliver the Alfred Nzo Memorial lecture at the Indian Council of World Affairs entitled, "India - South Africa: Strategic Perspective on Africa and the World," address the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry with a view to promoting inward investment and business opportunities in South Africa.

Bilateral Economic Relations between both countries

Bilateral commercial relations between India and South Africa are growing as is evidenced below.

YearSA Exports (R'000 000)SA Imports (R'000 000)
2005 (Aug)5 430 4284,264,752
20043 713 043
4,547,261
20033 350 322
3 126 148
20024 037 280
2 943 267

South African Investment in India:

A number of leading SA business houses such as SAB Miller, Old Mutual Plc, Tiger Oats, De Beers, Sanlam, Mvelaphanda etc have set up operations in India.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853
Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Tshwane
0001

11 December 2005

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