India, South Africa sign three-year Strategic Programme of Cooperation

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, January 25, 2019

Modi meets South African President Cyril Ramaphosa
India and South Africa signed here today a three-year Strategic Programme of Cooperation (2019-2021) aimed at further enhancing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
At talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa here, the two leaders recalled the Strategic Partnership established between India and South Africa through the Red Fort Declaration of March 1997 and the Tshwane Declaration of October 2006 and expressed satisfaction at the deepening and widening of this comprehensive bilateral partnership.
They emphasized the need to further deepen relations in the political, economic, defense, scientific, consular and socio-cultural spheres.
Modi and Ramaphosa expressed satisfaction at the steady pace of cooperation in the defence sector encompassing a wide range of engagements including defence production, joint collaboration, manufacturing, research and development, training and joint exercises.
A joint statement issued by the two sides after the talks said the two leaders recognized the importance of increased bilateral naval cooperation and closer synergy within the context of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) which, by keeping the sea lanes secure against illegal actors, will ensure unhindered passage for trade and continued prosperity of the entire Indian Ocean Region.
They acknowledged the increasing engagement between the two navies in recent years which inter alia has translated to increased interactions in maritime operations and training. 
They underscored the need for continuing consultations and the exchange of views between South Africa and India in order to build partnerships in multilateral forums and to ensure that the agenda of the South is prioritized.
The two leaders agreed that terrorism constitutes a serious threat to international peace, security and stability and that no country is immune to the threat that terrorism represents. They noted the need for concerted action by the global community against terrorism through early agreement and adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, as well as the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in a balanced and integrated manner.
They condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations regardless of its motivations, whenever, wherever and by whosoever committed.
Later, at a joint media interaction with Ramaphosa, Modi said India’s trade and investment relations with South Africa were becoming more intense, with bilateral trade crossing $ 10 billion.
He said that Ramaphosa and he had reviewed all dimensions of the bilateral relationship.
South Africa was the Partner Country in the "Vibrant Gujarat" summit earlier this month in Gandhinagar. Indian companies were taking an active part in the efforts of President Ramaphosa to increase investment in South Africa. 
“We are also partners in South Africa's skill development efforts. The Gandhi-Mandela Skills Institute is set to be established soon in Pretoria. Both of us are committed to taking these relationships to a new level. We will meet major business leaders of both the countries in a short while from now,” the Prime Minister said. 
“It is a matter of great pleasure for us that President Ramaphosa, an integral friend of India, is present among us today. India is not new to him, but it is his first visit to India as the President. 
“And his visit to India is happening during a special moment in our relations. This is the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhiji. Last year was the birth centenary year of Nelson Mandela which was also the silver jubilee year of our diplomatic relations,” Mr Modi said. 
“I am very happy that President Ramaphosa has come to India on this special occasion. His visit Is of special significance to us because tomorrow he will participate in our Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest,” he added. 
The Prime Minister said he had first met Mr Ramaphosa during his South Africa visit in 2016. At that time, he was the Vice-President. “In the first meeting itself, I had experienced his enthusiasm and affection towards India. I experienced his excellent hospitality during the BRICS Summit in South Africa last year,” he added. 
“If we look at the map of the world, it is clear that both India and South Africa are located at very important places in the Indian Ocean. We both are democratic countries filled with diversities. 
“We are the successors to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. And therefore, the broad global outlook of both the countries is quite similar to each other. Our mutual cooperation and coordination on many forums like BRICS, G-20, Indian Ocean Rim Association, IBSA, is very strong,” Mr Modi pointed out. 
“We are also working together on the reforms of the UN Security Council. A special part of the program of this visit of the President will be the first Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture being organized today,” he said. 
“The presence of President Ramaphosa on the Republic Day and participation as the Chief Guest is a symbol of our shared commitment to strengthening our relations,” he added.
Ramaphosa is accompanied on the state visit by first lady Tshepo Motsepe, nine Cabinet Ministers, senior officials and a large business delegation.
He was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan here this morning.
President Ram Nath Kovind hosted a banquet dinner for him this evening.
Ramaphosa and Modi addressed the India-South Africa Business Forum here today with a focus to grow business ties between the two countries. President Ramaphosa also delivered the inaugural IBSA Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture, in the presence of Modi.

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