Pretoria – Indian President Pratibha Patil will travel to South Africa on Wednesday for a state visit, said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Monday.
Patil’s visit, which is expected to provide India and South Africa with an opportunity to strengthen the close relationship that already exist between the peoples of South Africa and India, follows an invitation by President Jacob Zuma.
During the visit, Patil will meet Zuma to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries. The two Presidents will also address a Business Forum in Pretoria involving South African business people and their Indian counterparts.
President Patil will be accompanied by a government minister, four parliamentarians, various officials and a business delegation.
Since the establishment of full diplomatic relations between South Africa and India in 1993, numerous high-level visits have taken place between the two countries, resulting in the conclusion of bilateral agreements in multiple areas of cooperation in the following areas: trade, investment, education, defence, information and communication technology (ICT), health, agriculture, as well as science and technology.
As strategic partners, South Africa and India have laid a solid foundation and created a platform for cooperating in various forums, namely, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa); IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa); BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China – a climate change-specific forum); G-20 and the India-Africa Forum, all of which reinforce the strong bilateral relationship.
Commercially, in November 2011, bilateral trade was at R48.2 billion, with South African exports standing at R21.9 billion and the imports from India at R26.3 billion, with the balance of trade in India’s favour.
The two countries have set a bilateral trade target of R111 billion to be reached by 2014.
“India and South Africa share a common vision on a range of global issues and domestic challenges. Many of the objectives are being pursued both bilaterally and multilaterally, and are also being given content through South-South initiatives,” said the department.
Source: BuaNews – 30 April 2012