Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed India and South Africa’s historic ties and thanked South African President Jacob Zuma’s government for supporting India’s bid to secure membership in the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). “I thanked the President for South Africa’s support to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. We know that we can count on the active support of our friends, like South Africa,” he said at a joint press conference with Zuma.
India and South Africa signed four agreements in key areas of defence production, manufacturing, mining and minerals.
Both Modi and Zuma vowed to cooperate “actively” in combating terrorism. “President Zuma and I also agreed on the need to work more closely on international issues and emerging global challenges,” Modi said.
Defence and security ties with South Africa will be advantageous because of the country’s position as a major defence manufacturer.
Denel, Paramount Group, Milkor, and Armscor are major manufacturers or procurers of defence equipment. South Africa not only makes weapons for its own use but also exports to other countries. Modi called for jointly developing or manufacturing defence equipment. “Our companies can also pool their capacities to jointly develop or manufacture defence equipment and platforms. And not just to meet our defence needs but also to respond to regional and global demand,” he said.
A US Marine with a Milkor MGL. Wikimedia Commons
At the same time, Modi pointed out that trade between South Africa and India has grown by almost 380 per cent in the last 10 years. He also said that there was immense scope for trade in minerals and mining, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, high-technology manufacturing and information and communication technology. Recalling how South Africa and India faced racial discrimination and colonialism together, Modi said that his visit is “an opportunity to pay homage to two of the greatest people who walked this Earth, Mahatma Gandhi & Nelson Mandela.”