Ansari to represent India at Jacob Zuma inauguration

May 6th, 2009 - 8:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) Vice President Hamid Ansari will go to South Africa Friday to represent India at the oath-taking of president-elect Jacob Zuma the next day.
Ansari’s visit will add more depth and content to strategic partnership between India and South Africa, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said here Wednesday.

Senior officials of the ministry, including Nalin Surie, secretary (West), will accompany Ansari on this important visit that will mark the first formal contact between New Delhi and the new regime in Pretoria since the African National Congress headed by Zuma won the elections with a huge majority two weeks ago.

Ansari is likely to call on Zuma after the swearing-in function at the Union Buildings in Pretoria Saturday which is expected to be attended by 5,000 dignitaries and 30,000 onlookers.

The vice-president is also likely to have informal interactions with leaders of other countries who will be present at the function.

India is hoping for expansion and consolidation of multi-faceted ties with South Africa, the continent’s largest and most influential country, under the Zuma dispensation.

The economic engagement between India and South Africa, home to 1.5 million-strong Indian diaspora, is growing by the day. Bilateral trade is estimated to be around $7 billion.

India and South Africa share common perspectives on key international issues like the UN reforms, terrorism and the WTO negotiations. The two countries, along with Brazil, have formed IBSA, a trilateral grouping formed to enhance political and economic cooperation between them.

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