Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Saturday called on South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria and pledged to expand and diversify trade ties with the African nation to give a new dynamic dimension in the coming years.
Mr. Sharma, who is on an official visit to South Africa from August 20 to 24, conveyed the greetings of the Indian leadership to Mr. Zuma and congratulated the African National Congress on its resounding victory in the elections under his leadership. Mr. Zuma also conveyed his felicitations to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on their success in the Indian elections and described the successful elections in both countries as a step towards strengthening democracy worldwide.
Both sides agreed on a roadmap to enhance bilateral cooperation in several key sectors, including cooperation on security issues and in addressing international terrorism. Mr. Sharma reiterated that the Indian leadership was looking forward to the visit by President Zuma to India early next year, which would give an added impetus to the relationship.
Both Mr. Zuma and Mr. Sharma also discussed measures to deepen and diversify the bilateral relationship through a newly energised economic and commercial partnership building on the existing complementarities. Mr. Sharma briefed the South African President on efforts by the Ministries of Trade and Industry on both sides to enhance the quality of business-to-business interaction through an interaction between CEOs in connection with his visit. It was agreed that India would share its experience in rural development and employment generation and a delegation led by the Minister of Rural Development of South Africa would visit India in the near future in this regard.
They also emphasised the need for both countries to work together to address contemporary global challenges, including the economic crisis and the need to make international political and economic institutions more democratic and representative of contemporary realities of the 21st Century. He also informed Mr. Zuma on India’s initiative to host a Ministerial meeting in New Delhi on re-energising the Doha Development Round of WTO at which the South African Trade and Industry Minister would also take part. Mr. Sharma later met Maite E. Nkoana-Mashobane, Minister for International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa. He also called on the Deputy President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe, on Friday. He also addressed a meeting of the India Business Forum in Johannesburg. He will hold bilateral meetings with his counterpart, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, on August 24.