New Delhi, June 1 (ANI): South Africa plans to use the three-day visit of its President, Dr.Jacob Zuma, to India, to boost bilateral business prospects.
An Indian Government spokesman said on Tuesday that Dr. Zuma would be accompanied by a 200-strong business delegation.
"South Africa is one of our key partners, our very important partners, in the African continent. President Zuma is leading a very high-level delegation to India comprising of several Cabinet colleagues, and what we are told, the largest ever business delegation to accompany a President during his visit abroad. There will be some 200 businessmen and CEOs accompanying him representing various sectors of the South African economy," the spokesman said.
He also said that Dr. Zuma would be accompanied by the Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Minister of Defence, Minister of Public Enterprises, Minister of Trade and Economy, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Transport, Minister of Communications, and a number of other very senior officials.
During the delegation-level talks on Friday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be assisted by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Defence Minister A.K.Antony, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Minister of State for Civil Aviation (Independent Charge) Praful Patel, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur; Shri Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communications and IT; besides of course Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T.K.Nair; National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon; Vivek Katju, Secretary (West); Gurjit Singh, Joint Secretary (ESA), and other officials.
Dr.Zuma will have meetings with the business fraternity and also breakfast with the South African Business Forum, and the Business Unity South Africa in Mumbai on Wednesday and Thursday.
The spokesman said that at the heart of Indo-South African ties was a vibrant economic and commercial partnership.
"We have become one of the ten largest trading partners of South Africa. Trade which was 2.5 billion dollars in 2002, rose to 7.5 billion in 2008-09. What is even more significant is that in 2009-10, while we are still compiling the figures, in the first ten months the trade touched 6.4 billion dollars and would perhaps exceed the figure of 7.5 billion dollars," he said.
He further said that India and Southern African Customs Union have been negotiating a Preferential Trade Agreement to give a further boost to our ties.
Investments in both directions are growing, he added.
"We are also negotiating a Bilateral Investment and Promotion Agreement to boost our economic relationship further. As significantly, we are in the process of launching a bilateral CEO's Forum to provide an institutional mechanism for business leaders on both sides to engage closely. The Forum will be chaired by Mr. Ratan Tata on our side and Mr. Patrice Motsepe on the South African side," he said. (ANI)