India, South Africa ink 3 accords, to spur UN reforms (Roundup)June 4th, 2010 - 10:29 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) India and South Africa Friday inked three accords, agreed to work jointly to promote Africa as a global investment destination, and decided to spur the reforms of the United Nations.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Jacob Zuma, who is on his first visit to an Asian country, held talks covering a wide swathe of bilateral and global issues, including intensification of economic ties and closer coordination over global issues.
Setting a target of $10 billion bilateral trade by 2012, they also focused on jointly working to promote and develop Africa as the next global investment destination.
“Today, President Zuma and I have decided to impart a forward-looking character to these ties, and to further broadbase our cooperation,” said Manmohan Singh.
“We have agreed to focus on the expansion of our economic, trade and investment relationship,” he said, while underlining South Africa’s “influential role in world affairs.”
“The discussions were held in an atmosphere reflective of the fraternal warmth, affection and strategic partnership that characterize the bilateral relations,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement.
Acknowledging the rising global clout of the two countries, Manmohan Singh and Zuma called for speeding up reform of the UN and international decision-making institutions to reflect contemporary realities.
“We will step up our efforts for the reform of global institutions, including that of the UN Security Council,” Manmohan Singh said.
The two countries support each other’s bid for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
“We agreed to support each other’s candidature for the non-permanent seat for the 2011-12 term,” the prime minister said while describing Zuma’s maiden visit to India as “a milestone in India’s relations with South Africa”.
Zuma said: “We are one on this matter. The world that has changed must be reflected in its institutions.”
“We can’t continue to be governed by the rules and regulations of the early ’40s,” he stressed.
“India has given leadership in the developing world on a number of issues. This leadership continues,” said Zuma while describing his three-day visit to India that began Wednesday as “a success”.
After the talks, the two sides signed three agreements including a memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation, an air services pact and an MoU between the Foreign Service Institute of India and the Diplomatic Academy of South Africa.
The two leaders mandated the Joint Commission, which is to meet later this year, to develop concrete plans for implementation of the decisions taken by them.
The air services agreement provides for three additional stops for all flights, including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in South Africa and Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram in India.
Highlighting “historic and unique” relations between the two countries dating back to the struggle against apartheid, Zuma invited Manmohan Singh to visit South Africa at the earliest to further strengthen bilateral ties.
“We are very pleased with the outcome of the visit. I enjoyed the music and the food. We are at home in India,” said Zuma, who flies back Friday night after a presidential banquet in his honour.
Later, speaking at a meeting organised by apex business chambers, Zuma brought a pan-African perspective to India-South Africa ties.
“India and South Africa could both make a significant contribution to the establishment of Africa as the next global growth centre,” Zuma said.
“There are around 200 million in the southern African region alone and 1 billion across Africa,” said Zuma, adding that this presented a massive business opportunity for for both India and South Africa.
Underscoring a new economic synergy, the two sides launched India-South Africa CEOs forum in Mumbai Thursday and decided to expand $7.5 billion bilateral trade to $10 billion in the next couple of years.
Zuma began his visit to India from Mumbai with 200-odd businessmen to give fresh momentum to trade and investment between India and South Africa.
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