Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to undertake Official Visit to India, 12 - 15 November 2009.
Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will pay an official visit to India from 12 – 15 November 2009. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will be supported by the Deputy Director - General for Asia and Middle East, Ambassador Jerry Matjila and senior government officials. While in India, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane will participate in the Regional Heads of Mission Conference scheduled for 13 - 14 November 2009.
The visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and India and to signal South Africa’s commitment to the continuation of the strategic partnership with India within the context of South-South cooperation. In addition the visit will be the first such engagement by the Minister, who previously served as South Africa’s High Commissioner to India.
During the visit discussions between Minister Nkoana-Mashabane and her Indian counterpart will focus, among others, on the following issues:
- Consolidating bilateral relations including preparations for the 8th Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) with India in 2010;
- Preparations for the State Visit of President Jacob Zuma to India in 2010;
- Exchange of views on trilateral fora such as India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC);
- Exchange of views on regional issues; and
- Deepening multilateral cooperation.
Relations between South Africa and India emerged out of a shared history of struggle – in India’s case against colonial rule and in South Africa’s the removal of the system of apartheid. India is a key member of the South, and is central to India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum. The trilateral mechanism India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) was established when the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, South Africa and India met in Brasilia on 6 June 2003, with the aim of exploring themes on the international agenda and those of mutual interest with primary consideration being accorded to: the importance of respecting the rule of International Law; strengthening the United Nations and the Security Council; and prioritising the exercise of diplomacy as a means to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. Areas of co-operation identified include transportation, tourism, trade and investment, infrastructure development, science and technology, ICT, health, energy, defence, education and poverty alleviation.
The JMC between the two countries provides a structured institutional mechanism for Ministerial consultations on political and economic matters and has facilitated several initiatives including a trade agreement, co-operation on defence issues, science and technology co-operation programmes, capacity building through the India Technical Co-operation Programme (ITEC), Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on telecommunications, co-operation on SMME development and sector co-operation through the CEOs’ Forum. It has also facilitated extensive consultations before the Doha Ministerial Round and discussions about a Free Trade Agreement between India and the SACU countries. The eighth session of the JMC is tentatively scheduled for the first half of 2010, ahead of the State Visit to India by President Jacob Zuma.
South Africa and India, as the regional powers in their respective regions, are keen to work to strengthen the global rules-based trading system and are deeply involved with the WTO Doha Development Round of negotiations. India is also a member of the BRIC group, whose members are Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane is expected to return to South Africa on 16 November 2009.
For more information contact Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647.
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
11 November 2009.