Zuma arrives in India

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has arrived in India for talks with his counterparts aimed at strengthening and broadening commercial interactions between the two nations.

Accompanied by first lady Nompumelelo Zuma and a business delegation, the president touched down at the Chatrapati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai, ahead of his state visit.

"The visit provides an opportunity to strengthen the strong bilateral relationship that both countries share while addressing and promoting the importance of trade, industrialization, agricultural development, transport development, communication and International affairs," says President Zuma.

The President is due to deliver a keynote address at the re-launch of the India-South Africa CEO Forum on Thursday while the executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals Patrice Motsepe will lead the South African delegation of the CEO's forum. Tata group chairman Ratan Tata will lead the Indian delegation.

According to the Presidency, the launch of the forum is aimed at boosting investment and trade ties.

When the official program begins on Friday, President Zuma will be formally welcomed by the Indian president and Prime Minister Mannoham Singh by a ceremonial honour at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Zuma will then visit the Rajghat Samadhi Memorial where he will lay a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial. He will then take a guided tour of the Rajghat Samadhi Memorial and sign the visitor's book.

The President and Prime Minister Singh will then hold official talks at Hyderabad House aimed at deepening strategic partnership between South Africa and India.

Following talks, three agreements are expected to be signed namely the memorandum of understanding on Agricultural Cooperation; an amended Bilateral Air Services Agreement and a Memorandum on Mutual Cooperation between the Diplomatic Academy of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

They are to be signed by Transport minister Sibusiso Ndebele, International Relations and Cooperation minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

President Zuma will also receive courtesy calls from Sonia Gandhi, Leader of the Indian National Congress and Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, and from Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition party, Bharatiya Janata Party.

A State Banquet is also to be held after which the President is expected to leave India on Friday.