Agree to support each other's candidature for UN seats

India and South Africa signed three pacts and agreed to support each other's candidature in the elections to the rotating non-permanent seats of the United Nations Security Council.

At a summit-level meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday also resolved to step up bilateral cooperation as well as greater coordination at multilateral fora.

However, both sides decided to continue discussing resumption of full-fledged defence ties which suffered a setback after the blacklisting of a major South African firm from defence tenders. They also agreed on the need to expand the Brazil-Russia-India-China grouping to include South Africa.

In the civil nuclear sector, talks between nuclear power operators of both countries would continue as country-level cooperation was inhibited by an African treaty that bars business with countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

They also have slightly divergent views on reforming the UNSC and agreed to continue talks to arrive at a convergence.

The three agreements signed pertain to air services, agriculture and contacts between their think tanks.

The pacts were agreed upon before Mr. Zuma's visit and with other substantial agreements eluding both sides, symbolise their desire to step up cooperation. Both sides identified areas for future cooperation and decided to take them up in detail at the next meeting of the Joint Commission.

“We will step up our efforts for the reform of global institutions of governance, including of the United Nations Security Council. We have agreed to support each other's candidatures for the non-permanent seats for the 2011-2012 term,'' said Dr. Singh in a media statement after the talks with Mr. Zuma.

Noting that India and South Africa work closely in several international forums such as the United Nations, Non-aligned Movement, Commonwealth, WTO, G-20 and the IBSA and BASIC groupings, Dr. Singh said it was decided to intensify coordination in these bodies.

While Dr. Singh conveyed India's best wishes to South Africa which is hosting the Football World Cup from next week, Mr. Zuma reciprocated the sentiment for India, which will hold the Commonwealth Games later this year.

Mr. Zuma, accompanied by a 200-strong business delegation and half-a-dozen senior Ministers, also interacted with captains of industry here and earlier in Mumbai. Co-chaired by top business leaders Ratan Tata and Patrice Motsepe, an India-South Africa CEOs forum has been set up to give impetus to investment plans by companies from both countries.

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