PM Modi pays floral tributes to Gandhiji at Constitutional Hill

Emphasising the need for India and South Africa to further diversify their trade basket, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Pretoria on Friday that bilateral trade between the two countries had risen 380%over the last decade.

Indian companies with investments in Mozambique include Tata Steel, JSPL, JSW, Essar, Midwest Africa, Coal India Ltd and Sunflag Group in coal mining; Damodar Ferro in iron-ore mining; Essar in port development; and Pure Diets, Rajarambapu Group, HK Jalan Group and Asian Tea company in agriculture.

"Fifteen years ago, South Africa stood up against pressure from 39 drug corporations to block access to more affordable HIV medicines at a time when the epidemic was spiralling out of control in the country", Waterhouse says.

"About one-fourth of our investments in Africa are in South Africa, and there is potential to expand our business and investment ties further", he said. "South Africa is [a key] trade and investment partner and bilateral trade between India and South Africa has grown 380% in the last ten years", he noted.

In conclusion, Prime Minister Modi hailed South Africa's cooperation in forums such as IBSA [ India, Brazil and South Africa] and BRICS, and invited President Zuma to BRICS Summit in Goa later this year.

"To date, India is South Africa's largest trade partner with trade in 2015 being at nearly 95 billion rand (about $6.5 billion)".

MSF said South Africa imported the highest volume of its medicines from India, including life-saving antiretrovirals for HIV, and treatments for a wide range of other diseases.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister will visit Mahatma Gandhi's Phoenix Settlement in Durban and undertake a train journey to Pietermaritzburg in memory of the 1893 incident when Gandhi was thrown off a train carriage on account of his skin colour.

"Despite the challenges, the opportunities are huge for foreign companies operating in India, although many highlight that success requires a long-term planning horizon and a state-by-state strategy to adapt to the complexity and diversity of India's markets", the report said.

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Modi will begin his five-day tour with Mozambique and then travel to South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.

In the talks, the two countries also agreed to bolster defence and security cooperation and vowed to cooperate "actively" in dealing with terrorism, besides working closely at multilateral fora.

Following Friday's talks, both sides signed three memorandums of understanding - on information and communication technology, tourism, and grass root innovation in the science and technology - and a programme of cooperation in arts and culture.

The two countries are crucial voices of the global south, Zuma asserted in Pretoria.

The two nations share a colonial past, as well as a national icon, Mahatma Gandhi who is revered across South Africa for his struggle against apartheid.

Mann said that if Indian farmers are adequately paid for their crops, India will not have to beg before other countries for Dals and Pulses.

The museum, which will house memoribilia representing the mahatma's work in India and South Africa, was funded both by India and the KwaZulu-Natal governments in South Africa.

Both the leaders insisted on the importance of fighting racism together. A call which was earlier endorsed by President Jacob Zuma as well.

  • Sonia Alvarado