International relations / Africa news
As South Africa and India celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations, the two countries have pledged to continue working together.
South Africa and India committed to strengthening trade relations in 2018 at the Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) that took place in New Delhi, India.
The meeting was co-chaired by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) Deputy Director-General Professor Anil Sooklal, who is responsible for the Asia and Middle East Regions; and from the Indian side by Dr Neena Malhotra, Joint Secretary, East and Southern Africa, from the Ministry of External Affairs.
The consultations form part of the structured mechanism which governs bilateral relations between the two countries. This comprises a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) and the FOC.
The FOC serves to reflect on matters of mutual interest within the global arena, as well as take stock of progress in the implementation of the decisions of the previous JMC.
The meeting reviewed developments in the bilateral relationship between South Africa and India, since the 9th JMC held in Durban back in May 2015.
“South Africa and India enjoy a strategic partnership based on shared values and common interests and the meeting reflected on progress made with regard to the conclusion of a number of legal instruments, including agreements and memoranda of understanding, aimed at promoting co-operation within specific areas,” said DIRCO.
These areas relate to visa simplification procedures, co-operation in higher education, audio-visual co-production and renewable energy.
The meeting further reflected on ways to enhance commercial links between South Africa and India while noting that bilateral trade had grown steadily over the past decade.
By November 2017, two-way trade had reached R97 billion and further areas of co-operation were being explored in the financial services industry, defence procurement, agro-processing and deep mining equipment.
The two countries pledged to co-operate in order to fast track reform in institutions of global governance.
“Close collaboration would continue in the fight against terrorism and within important groupings such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the latter where South Africa has taken over the chair for the period 2017-2019,” said DIRCO. The 10th JMC will take place in India this year.
By November 2017, the two-way trade had reached R97 billion.