India, South Africa to work closely in international forums: Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, June 4 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Friday said both India and South Africa have agreed to intensify coordination between the two countries and work closely in several international forums such as the United Nations, Non-aligned Movement, Commonwealth, WTO, G-20, the IBSA and BASIC groupings.

"We will step up our efforts for the reform of global institutions of governance, including of the United Nations Security Council. We have agreed to support each other's candidatures for the non-permanent seat for the 2011-2012 term," said Dr Singh.

"Our strategic partnership with South Africa is based on a mutuality of interests, common aspirations and close mutual understanding," he added.

The Prime Minister said South Africa has become one of the most significant economic partners for India in Africa, and added that both countries have decided to impart a forward-looking character to these ties, and to further broadbase their cooperation.

"We have agreed to focus on the expansion of our economic, trade and investment relationship. Our economies have come of age. A growing number of companies are investing in each other's countries, and South Africa has become one of the most significant economic partners for India in Africa," said Dr Singh.

"We have also decided to provide fresh impetus to our cooperation in the areas of science and technology, agriculture, human resource development, people to people exchanges and security," he added.

Dr Singh said India remains willing to work with South Africa in addressing the shared challenges of capacity-building, skill development, job creation and combating disease, which are essential for achieving inclusive growth.

Welcoming South African President Jacob Zuma, Dr Singh said: "It gives me great pleasure to welcome His Excellency President Jacob Zuma on his first State Visit to India. We are honoured by the fact that President Zuma has chosen India as his first destination in Asia."r Singh further said the links between India and South Africa are rooted in history.

"We can never forget that South Africa was the land of the awakening of the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, for which we owe a deep debt of gratitude to its people," he said.

"President Zuma has led South Africa with great distinction in the last one year. South Africa plays an influential role in world affairs. Its voice is heard with respect not only in Africa, but also on all major global issues," added Dr Singh.

The Prime Minister also conveyed his best wishes to South Africa that will host the Football World Cup.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who is on a three-day visit to India, is accompanied by a high profile business delegation to promote and strengthen the historical ties between the two countries. (ANI)

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