India, South Africa boost bilateral ties as PM Modi holds talks with President Ramaphosa

RSTV Bureau

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral talks with visiting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Friday afternoon. President Ramaphosa is in India on a two-day visit.

Both sides held wide-ranging talks across different sectors, strengthening bilateral ties and taking them to a new level. India and South Africa sealed a three-year strategic programme in talks between PM Narendra Modi and the South African President.

The two sides stepped up cooperation in areas of defence and developed a road map to enhance strategic partnership.

“South African defence industries are looking at our ‘Make in India’ initiative with renewed interest. India and South Africa have a strong interest in maritime security in the Indian Ocean region…India has also extended training slots for South African defence personnel. We share common concerns in the areas of terrorism, FATF, cyber security,” TS Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations), said ahead of the talks.

The areas of focus between the two nations include defence, security, political relations, trade and investment, blue economy, tourism, science and technology, IT and agriculture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in New Delhi on January 25, 2019.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomes South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in New Delhi on January 25, 2019.

Noting that the economic relations between the two country had also been “very robust”, Tirumurti said this would be Ramaphosa’s first visit to India after assuming office as the country’s president.

President Ramaphosa, who will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in the national capital on January 26, has become the second South African president to be invited to the event as the chief guest. Former South African president Nelson Mandela was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in 1995.

The President is accompanied by the First Lady and nine senior ministers of his cabinet, in addition to senior officials and a 50-member business delegation.

Earlier in the day, the South African president received a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. He also visited Rajghat to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi.

Later in the day, President Ramaphosa is scheduled to deliver the Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs under the IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) framework.

(With inputs from PTI)