S Africa to promote ties with India

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Pretoria, July 8 (IANS) South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday pledged to promote bilateral ties with India in various fields.

Speaking in Pretoria after meeting visiting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Zuma said the visit “has certainly further strengthened the already warm historical relations between the two countries, and has taken cooperation to a higher level”.

Modi arrived from Mozambique on Thursday night on a two-day official visit here and will later also go to Kenya and Tanzania during his four-nation tour of the continent, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Our countries enjoy strong relations and cooperation in social, economic, political and global cooperation,” Zuma said.

He added that Modi’s visit enabled the two countries to further enhance trade, investment and commercial relations.

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India is South Africa’s sixth largest trade partner, with trade in 2015 standing at almost 95 billion rand (about $6.6 billion). Trade with India represented 4.9 per cent of South Africa’s imports and 4.1 per cent of exports last year.

While the trade surplus is in favour of India, efforts are underway to promote South African exports of especially value added products.

“We are looking to increase and diversify South African exports to India. We have identified new areas for market access including the defence, deep mining, renewable Energy and health sectors,” Zuma said.

Zuma identified future sectors for possible cooperation which include agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, mining, water and waste management, retail, financing and infrastructure development.

He also said South Africa will continue to work closely with India on the reform of the UN and its organs, specifically the Security Council, as well as the international financial institutions.

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