President Zuma concludes State Visit to the Republic of India
President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by his wife Mrs. Nompumelelo Zuma has concluded his state visit to India (2-4 June 2010). This was President Zuma’s first state visit to Asia since assuming office as President of the Republic of South Africa.
Earlier today, 4 June 2010, President Zuma held talks with Prime Minister Mannoham Singh at Hyderabad House in New Dehli. The talks focused on deepening strategic partnership between South Africa and India.
To that effect the two leaders agreed to focus on the expansion of economic, trade and investment relationship between the two countries and to further broaden cooperation. The governments of South Africa and India will also provide fresh impetus to cooperation in the areas of science and technology, agriculture, human resource development, people to people exchanges and security.
Three agreements were also signed between the governments of South Africa and India. The first agreement signed was a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Fields of Agriculture and Allied Sectors. This agreement was signed by the South African Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Tina Joemat Petterson and her Indian counterpart Minister of Agriculture Mr. Shri Sharad Pawar.
The second agreement was an Air Service Agreement that was signed by South African Minister of Transport Mr. Sibusiso Ndebele and India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Ms Preneet Kaur.
The third agreement was a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute of India and Diplomatic Academy of South Africa, signed by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation with India represented by Ms Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affaris.
President Zuma and Prime Minister Singh tasked the South Africa-India Joint Commission to develop concrete plans for implementation of the decisions taken in their talks.
South Africa and India agreed to intensify their coordination in several multi-lateral forums such as the United Nations, Non Aligned Movement, WTO, G-20, Commonwealth, IBSA and BASIC groupings. Both countries also agreed to support each other’s candidature for the non-permanent seat for the 2011-2012 term.
In reciprocating the warm reception and hospitality received by the South African delegation, President Zuma extended an invitation to Prime Minister Singh to visit South Africa on a state visit. The period of the visit will be confirmed through normal diplomatic channels.
President Zuma and Mrs Zuma, concluded the visit by attending a state banquet hosted by the President of the Republic of India Ms Pratibha Devisingh Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavin.
Delivering his toast remarks at the banquet President Zuma said “Our presence here is a celebration and acknowledgement of the depth of our historic relationship. This year, South Africa marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in our country.
Though most arrived under the most exploitative and inhuman circumstances, South Africa’s Indian population has become an integral part of our thriving democratic nation.
It is this historic bond of kinship, struggle and shared values that we are here to reaffirm and strengthen”.
President Zuma also paid tribute to the role of South Africa’s Indian population in the struggle for national liberation.
“We recall, in particular, the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi, much revered and beloved in both our countries, whose teachings and tactics were to be so influential in our efforts to overcome discrimination and oppression.
We pay tribute to the people of India and to successive Indian governments for playing a leading role in the international struggle against apartheid.
It was India which, in 1946, first placed the injustices of apartheid on the agenda of the United Nations, initiating a worldwide campaign of isolation that was to prove crucial to the achievement of our democracy”, said Zuma.
President Zuma expressed South Africa’s commitment to undertake the work necessary to improve the ease with which Indian and South African companies can do business together.
“We reaffirm our determination to conclude a preferential trade agreement between India and the Southern African Customs Union.
We share a vision of an equitable, just, peaceful and prosperous world order.
We envisage the political and economic emergence of the countries of the South, bringing to an end centuries of poverty and marginalisation.
We are both committed to the achievement of peace, stability and development on the African continent, and to the strengthening of links between Africa and Asia, concluded President Zuma
President Zuma and Mrs Zuma are expected to leave India on the evening of the 04th June 2010.
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