India signs 8 pacts to boost ties with Brazil, South Africa

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Tshwane, Pretoria, Oct 17 (UNI) India, Brazil and South Africa today signed eight agreements, including one on cooperation in the field of public administration and governance, as part of their efforts to strengthen the IBSA movement.

The agreements were signed at the end of a day-long Second Summit of the IBSA, a trilateral grouping consisting of the three leading economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Minister of State for External Afairs Anand Sharma signed the agreements for India in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Inacio Lula Da Silva and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki.

Among the agreements signed included : Agreement on public administration and governance, cultural cooperation, cooperation in social issues and health and medicines, besides a business-to-business agreement.

Three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were also signed by the three countries. They were: MoUs on cooperation in the field of higher education, customs and tax administrations and one on establishing a trilateral working group on cooperation in wind resources.

At a joint Press Conference after the agreement signing ceremony, the leaders of the three emerging powerhouses demonstrated their resolve to work together to ensure a better deal for developing nations as they seek a common voice on the world stage.They claimed a meeting of minds on issues ranging from the fight against poverty and stalled world trade talks.

Dr Singh said the three large democracies seek to take advantage of complementarities and pursue people-centred approach to bring development.

"It has been a very successful session of the IBSA summit. It has been very much focused on achieving results ... to respond to all the challenges that our countries face," said Mr Mbeki .

The three southern hemisphere countries are united in their belief the current world order is overly beneficial to the north and see the forum as a chance to find a common voice to push their cause on the international stage.

In a joint statement issued at the end of the second annual IBSA summit, the leaders "recommitted themselves to vigorously pursue the deepening of South-South cooperation for sustainable development." "They reaffirmed their shared commitment to the eradication of poverty, to sustain an inclusive economic growth," the statement added.

Mr Lula said the three countries were all committed to forging "the closest possible cooperation so we can together ensure a more equitable international politcal and economic order." "We need to say to our people -- from South Africa, India and Brazil -- that from now we can build a new model of participation in the multilateral world," added the Brazilian president.

The three countries, which have a combined population of about 1.3 billion people, believe they can best achieve results on issues such as the Doha round of world talks and reform of the United Nations by working together.

Both Mr Lula and Dr Singh arrived in South Africa late Tuesday after business leaders from the three countries had held a joint seminar in which they urged their respective governments to do more to ease trade barriers.

International trade between Brazil and South Africa stood at 16 billion rand (1.67 billion euros/2.37 billion dollars) last year with the balance of trade being in favour of the South American country. Bilateral trade between South Africa and India is also worth around 16 billion rand.

UNI

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