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PM to go to S Africa with NAM on mind
September 25, 2006 16:44 IST
Singh will arrive in Durban on September 30 to participate in the centenary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy of 'Satyagraha' and then for talks with President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria.
"The visit will take place within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate South-South relations for increased market and trade access," Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said in an interview on Monday.
"South Africa and India shared a strategic partnership in developing the agenda for the South," Pahad said. "They (Singh and Mbeki) will also discuss the outcomes of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly, including comprehensive reforms of the UN, African developmental issues as well as peace and security in the continent.
"In this regard we hope that India will follow some of the other Asian giants and become more involved in Africa. Singh's visit is important as it would provide him with an opportunity together with President Thabo Mbeki, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Satyagraha by Gandhi in South Africa," he said.
This will be a wonderful opportunity to pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi's historical legacy.
"While in South Africa, Singh will also visit sites in Kwazulu Natal of particular relevance to Mahatma Gandhi and interact with the members of the South Africa-India CEOs Forum chaired by Patrice Motsepe and Ratan Tata in Johannesburg," Pahad said.
"The sheer size of the Indian economy -- the 14th largest manufacturing economy in the world -- gives it an influential position in the global market in which South Africa has a key interest.
"Since South Africa and India have similar developmental challenges, their collective capacity in bargaining and voicing concerns that affect their economies in international forums is made highly effective.
"As a key emerging regional economy, India provides a platform for re-integration of the South African econom with that of South Asia." Opportunities that have been identified for closer cooperation and would form part of South Africa's trade development agenda in India include the sectors of capital equipment, agro-processed products, autos and components, services, Information Communication Technology, science and technology, health and Small Medium and Micro Enterprises.