Nkoana Mashabane to travel to India

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane will on Thursday pay an official visit to India where she is expected to participate in the Regional Heads of Mission Conference.

The department said the visit was aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between South Africa and India and to signal South Africa's commitment to the continuation of the strategic partnership with India within the context of South-South cooperation.

The visit will be the first such engagement by Nkoana Mashabane, who previously served as South Africa's High Commissioner to India.

Among the issues expected to be discussed include the preparations for President Jacob Zuma's visit to India next year, exchange of views on trilateral fora such as India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) and Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC), exchange of views on regional issues and deepening multilateral cooperation.

The department said relations between South Africa and India emerged out of a shared history of struggle, in India's case against colonial rule and in South Africa's the removal of the system of apartheid.

India is a key member of the South, and is central to the IBSA Dialogue Forum. The trilateral mechanism was established when the Foreign Ministers of Brazil, South Africa and India met in Brasilia on 6 June 2003, with the aim of exploring themes on the international agenda and those of mutual interest.

Areas of cooperation identified include transportation, tourism, trade and investment, infrastructure development, science and technology, health, energy, defence, education and poverty alleviation.

"South Africa and India, as the regional powers in their respective regions, are keen to work to strengthen the global rules-based trading system and are deeply involved with the WTO Doha Development Round of negotiations," the department said.

India is also a member of the BRIC group, whose members are Brazil, Russia, India and China.

Minister Nkoana Mashabane will be accompanied by the Deputy Director General for Asia and Middle East, Ambassador Jerry Matjila and senior government officials.