Remarks by President Jacob Zuma at the Media Conference, following the Official Talks with Prime Minister Modi of India, Pretoria, 08 July 2016
Your Excellency Prime Minister Modi,
It is a great honour for South Africa to host His Excellency Prime Minister Modi of India.
This is a very important visit for our country, given the relations between South Africa and India.
The visit has certainly further strengthened the already warm historical relations between the two countries, and has taken cooperation to a higher level.
South Africa and India enjoy strong relations dating back to the struggle against apartheid. India was a vociferous campaigner against apartheid colonialism.
Our two countries also share the honour of having produced two liberation icons, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.
This visit is also important at a cultural level for our country. The arrival of the first Indians in South Africa over one hundred and fifty years ago and the considerable contribution of this community to shaping modern day South Africa, is another reason for the deep bonds between our two countries.
Our countries enjoy strong relations and cooperation in social, economic, political and global cooperation.
With regards to trade, there are over one hundred Indian companies operating in South Africa and they contribute significantly to economic growth and job creation in our country.
The visit enables us to further enhance trade, investment and commercial relations with India.
We are looking to increase and diversify South African exports to India. We have identified new areas for market access including the Defence; Deep Mining; Renewable Energy and Health Sectors.
Future sectors identified for possible cooperation include:
- Water and waste management
- Infrastructure development
This afternoon we will be addressing the South Africa-India Business Forum which will add further momentum to the ties that exist between the private sectors of our respective countries.
South Africa values cooperation with regards to skills development. A number of our youth study in India. We are keen to explore further opportunities for training opportunities from India as part of youth empowerment and development.
We have agreed to expand and improve people to people contact through promoting tourism between the two countries.
We would like to assure the Indian side that South Africa is a wonderful tourism destination, and that a simplification of South Africa’s visa regime with India is underway. This will promote ease of travel to South Africa.
Together India and South Africa play a leading role in the Global South, in order to influence the world we live in.
At a multilateral level, the two countries have agreed to enhance cooperation with India in international fora, specifically within the context of BRICS, India Brazil South Africa forum (IBSA), the G77 plus China, Commonwealth and the G20 among others.
Your Excellency Prime Minister
Both countries play an instrumental role in shaping the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) into a vibrant organisation.
This organisation is on the ascendancy, owing most immediately to the dynamic leadership of India.
During South Africa’s impending chairing of the Association in 2017, we will build on the priority areas begun by India to ensure the sustainable use of the oceans for the benefit of our people.
Indeed we have identified the oceans economy as a major driver for sustainable economic growth and employment generation under South Africa’s Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy initiative.
Within BRICS, South Africa and India cooperate closely and we are excited by the initiatives proposed by India during its current chairship, aimed at deepening cooperation and the building of institutions.
India, through its representative, Honourable K.V. Kamath is shaping the New Development Bank (BRICS BANK) to be a formidable player in financing much needed infrastructure in Africa and the rest of the developing world.
As South Africa, we hope to open the first regional centre of the New Development Bank dedicated to infrastructure projects in Africa, in Johannesburg, later this year.
We continue to work closely with India on the reform of the United Nations and its organs, specifically the Security Council, as well as the international financial institutions.
Considerable interaction and cooperation also exists in areas such as sustainable development and climate change.
It is important that our two countries continue to work together in the quest for peace and security on the Continent and we acknowledge and commend the leading role that India is playing in the peacekeeping efforts on the Continent.
We have also agreed to continue working together in the reform of global governance institutions, notably the United Nations Security Council.
We have also taken the opportunity to congratulate India in respect of positive outcomes and concrete proposals reflected in the New Delhi Declaration and the India-Africa Framework for Strategic Cooperation of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit.
We also wish to congratulate India for her active participation in United Nation’s sponsored peace missions in Africa, and for the continued role of India in peace, security and development on the Continent.
Your Excellency Prime Minister, welcome to South Africa indeed.
We are truly honoured to host you, and trust that you will have a wonderful stay in our country.
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency