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South Africa’s President Visit to India

  • 30 Jan 2019
  • 7 min read

Recently, President of South Africa Cyril Ramphosa visited India on a two-day visit.

  • President Ramphosa was the chief guest at 70th Republic Day Celebrations in New Delhi.
  • He is the second president of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

Outcome of Visit

  • During the visit, a Three-Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation (2019-2021) was signed which is aimed at further enhancing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
  • Strategic Programme of cooperation covers overall relations with South Africa in defense, security, economic, trade & investment relations, development partnership, and capacity building etc.
  • Both countries recalled the Strategic Partnership established between India and South Africa through the Red Fort Declaration of March 1997 in New Delhi and the Tshwane Declaration of October 2006 in Pretoria, South Africa which reaffirmed the Red Fort Declaration of 1997.
  • During the visit of President Mandela to India in March 1997, the two countries signed the historic Red Fort Declaration for Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa.
  • Both countries emphasized the need to further deepen relations in the political, economic, defense, scientific, consular and socio-cultural spheres.
  • International Cooperation
    • India and South Africa share a common vision on a range of global issues and closely cooperate in multilateral forums like the UN, BRICS, G-20, Commonwealth, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and IBSA.
    • Both India and South Africa are supportive of reforms in UN Security Council (UNSC) to achieve a more representative and equitable UNSC and reform in the global governance architecture such as World Trade Organization (WTO).
    • India and Africa also cooperate in the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a common platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries.
  • Diaspora
    • There are 1.5 million Persons of Indian Origin in South Africa and constitute 3% of South Africa’s total population.
    • Both countries agreed to work on the simplification of the visa agreement to broaden people-to-people interactions and to increase two-way tourism.

History of Indian Diaspora in South Africa

    • The major part of the Indian origin community came to South Africa from 1860 onwards as farm labor to serve as field hands and mill operatives in the sugar and other agricultural plantations of Natal (which was then a British colony).
    • Most of these initial migrants were from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh with some from eastern UP and Bihar.
    • The second wave of Indians came after 1880. These were the “passenger Indians” – called so because they paid their fares as passengers on board a steamship bound for South Africa. This was the community of traders who mainly hailed from Gujarat.
  • Defense Relation
    • South Africa has a robust defense industry. India and South Africa have cooperation in the defense sector encompassing a wide range of engagements including defense production, joint collaboration, manufacturing, research and development, training and joint exercises.
    • South-Africa will also participate in India-Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX) in March 2019 at Pune, India.
    • India and South Africa also have close naval cooperation through the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).
  • Trade Relation
    • Trade between India and South Africa has also increased to $10.7 billion in 2017-18 with an increase of about 13% over the previous year.
    • During the visit, both countries agreed to agree to further enhance bilateral investments between the two countries.
    • Both nations also agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of the Blue Economy including in the framework of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).
  • On terrorism
  • India For Humanity
    • India has also launched the "India for Humanity” initiative in South Africa in the context of Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary to provide artificial limbs by "Jaipur Foot” in South Africa.
    • “India For Humanity” initiative was launched by Ministry of External Affairs.
    • It features a year-long series of artificial limb fitment camps in a number of countries spanning the globe.

History of India-Africa Relations

  • India’s relations with South Africa go back to centuries and have a powerful emotional component. It is here that Mahatma Gandhi began his political career and over the decades of the 20th century.
  • India was the first country to sever trade relations with the apartheid Government (in 1946) and subsequently imposed a complete - diplomatic, commercial, cultural and sports - embargo on South Africa.
  • India worked consistently to put the issue of apartheid on the agenda and worked with African National Congress (ANC) in its struggle against apartheid.
  • ANC has maintained a representative office in New Delhi from the 1960s onwards.
  • India’s relations with South Africa were restored after a gap of over four decades with the opening of a Cultural Centre in Johannesburg in May 1993.
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