Pretoria (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting South Africa on the last leg of his 4-day African tour, declared that ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ belonged to South Africa as much as he belonged to India. “This visit is an opportunity to pay homage to two of the greatest human souls to have ever walked this earth- Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.”
At the press conference with President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa, Modi stressed on the bi-lateral relationships between the two countries.
“Through centuries, India and South Africa have nurtured strong people to people ties. We stood together in our common fight against racial subjugation and colonialism. It was in South Africa that Gandhi found his true calling. He belongs as much to India as to South Africa. Fortunately, in this process, we had the guidance of the greatest leaders which the human race has seen. Our leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi brought political freedom for us. Now, it is the time to work for economic freedom.Thus, our relations rest upon our common desire to fulfil the aspirations of our people.”
The two leaders discussed the potential of business development in various fields from minerals mining, chemicals, pharmaceuticals; high-technology manufacturing to information and communication technology etc.
Modi conveyed India’s intent to develop the relationship much beyond economic ties and links in business, trade and investment. The two countries can partner in the field of defence and security. At the industrial level and for strategic and security needs, they can pool their capabilities to jointly develop and/or manufacture defence equipment and platforms. This will not only assist to meet self- defence needs, but, additionally enable to respond to regional and global demands.
President Zuma and Prime Minister Modi agreed to work more closely on international issues and emerging global challenges. South Africa has offered India full-fledged support in its bid for membership of Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG). Modi clarified to Zuma that climate change, and its impact on the world, is an equally shared concern. Both countries agreed upon large scale efforts focusing on renewable energy to address this challenge. It was with this in mind that India had led the efforts to form an International Solar Alliance at COP 21 in Paris. The alliance can be the most effective platform for access to knowledge, technology and finance for promoting solar energy. Prime Minister Modi thanked President Zuma for South Africa’s partnership in this Alliance, which already has the support of over 120 countries.
Modi further added that the waters of the Indian Ocean are the common sea frontiers. The ‘Indian Ocean Rim Association’ (IORA) has emerged as a key platform of engagement for the maritime neighbors connected by the Indian Ocean. India welcomes South Africa’s chairmanship of the organization for 2017-19. Both countries are closely working together to shape priorities of international agenda through IBSA [India, Brazil and South Africa] and BRICS. Modi went on to say that he looks forward to welcoming President Zuma to Goa for the BRICS Summit in October this year