External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has discussed with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa enhanced engagement between the two countries and greater cooperation in areas of skill development, agriculture and information technology.
Swaraj arrived here yesterday on a five-day visit during which she will attend meetings of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) — the two major groupings where India has been playing a key role.
Swaraj met Ramaphosa who recalled his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Commonwealth Summit in London and conveyed his commitment to take the bilateral relations to the next level, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.
“The enhanced engagement between the two countries, especially in the aftermath of the India-South Africa Business Summit, and greater cooperation in areas such as skill development, agriculture, IT etc were also discussed,” it said.
Swaraj conveyed her felicitations on his assumption of office as President and mentioned that the year 2018 was of special significance for both India and South Africa since they both were commemorating the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations, 100th birth anniversary of the iconic leader Nelson Mandela and the 125th anniversary of the Pietermaritzburg incident of Mahatma Gandhi.
Ramaphosa recalled the great legacy left behind by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa for future generations.
A young Mahatma Gandhi was thrown out of a train compartment in Pietermaritzburg railway station. The 1893 incident proved to be a turning point in Gandhi’s fight against racial discrimination in South Africa.
Swaraj will also attend a series of events marking the 125th anniversary of the historic incident.
During the visit, Swaraj will participate in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Foreign Ministers’ meeting today which is expected to lay the foundation for the annual summit of the grouping in Johannesburg next month.
She will also chair a meeting of Foreign Ministers of IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa), another bloc working to deepen coordination among the three countries on major global issues.