Large business team to accompany Ramaphosa to India

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations, will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including a 50-member business team, when he travels to India on January 25-26.

The External Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday that Ramaphosa will be accompanied by First Lady Tshepo Motsepe, nine ministers and senior officials apart from the business delegation.

This is the first visit to India by President Ramaphosa as head of state. He is the second President of South Africa after Nelson Mandela to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ramaphosa will have a bilateral meeting and hold delegation-level talks on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest on January 25, according to a Ministry statement.

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They will also address the India-South Africa Business Forum on January 25 with the objective to grow business ties between the two countries.

The President will deliver the Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs under the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) framework as part of the 15th anniversary celebrations of IBSA.

“India and South Africa enjoy a close and multifaceted strategic partnership (marked) by historic, cultural and economic linkages,” the statement said.

Several high-level visits have been exchanged in the recent past, including Modi’s visit in 2018 for the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit in Johannesburg.

About 1.5 million Indian-origin people live in South Africa.

According to the statement, over 150 Indian companies have invested in South Africa, employing over 20,000 locals.

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India is among the top five trading partners of South Africa, with bilateral trade increasing to $10.65 billion in 2018-19 from $9.38 billion in 2017-18.

Both the countries 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.

–IANS

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