Indian and South African Foreign Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Tuesday reviewed the progress made by political and trade joint committees of the two countries in Durban.
The Indian Foreign Minister is in Durban to co-chair the 9th South Africa-India Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) held on Tuesday. Swaraj, earlier on Tuesday, called on South African President Jacob Zuma.
This was “the first such engagement since the coming into power of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India and a number of new and exciting possibilities worthy of special attention have been identified. The Ministers will specifically focus on enabling measures and the way forward”, said a statement posted on the South African Foreign Ministry website.
The new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first year in office has seen a string of successes, including forging closer ties with major trading powers.
“Our bilateral relations are rooted in a history of friendship and solidarity and have been formalised through three declarations that defines the strategic nature of those relations. The two countries cooperate in a host of regional, continental and global fora, most notable being the BRICS countries (an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA), and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA),” added the statement.
India is currently South Africa’s third largest trade partner in Asia and ranks amongst South Africa’s top six trade partners.
Seeking expansion of economic ties with India, South Africa has said it is targeting to increase bilateral trade volume to $20 billion by 2018 from the current $15 billion.
“The bilateral trade stands at USD 15 billion and we are targeting to reach more than USD 20 billion by 2018,” South Africa’s Foreign Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said in India earlier this year.
Both India and South Africa are members of BRICS and are pitching for reforms of global institutions of governance such as UNSC and international financial institutions.
The $100 billion BRICS Bank will be headquartered in Shanghai, China but will base its only regional center in Johannesburg, South Africa. India has already announced the first President of the Bank.
The bank, which will begin with an initial size of $100 billion, will fund infrastructure and development projects in BRICS and other emerging and developing economies.
The 7th BRICS Summit will be held in the Russian city of Ufa from 8-9 July.