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India and South Africa expand relations

Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane Minister of International Relations and Cooperation for South Africa and Smt. Sushma Swaraj Minister of External Affairs & Overseas Indian Affairs for India at the signing of the minutes of the JMC in Durban, South Africa. Pictured with them are High Commissioners Mrs Ruchi Ghanashyam and Mr  F K Morule. Photo: Jacoline Schoonees

Communiqué of the 9th Session of Joint Ministerial Commission between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of India Durban, 18 - 19 May 2015
1.      At the invitation of Her Excellency Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the Honourable Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa, Her Excellency Smt. Sushma Swaraj, the Honourable Minister of External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs of the Republic of India, visited the Republic of South Africa officially from 18 to 19 May 2015, in order to co-chair the 9th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission.
2.      During the visit, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Smt. Sushma Swaraj held discussions and led their respective delegations to the plenary meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission. Minister Swaraj conveyed the good wishes of the Government and people of the Republic of India, to the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa.
3.      Minister Swaraj also paid a courtesy call on His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, and conveyed the good wishes of His Excellency Mr Pranab Mukherjee, President of the Republic of India, to the President and people of the Republic of South Africa.
4.      In their opening remarks, both Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the strong relationship that exists between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of India, as well as the progress made since the 8th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission which was held in India in 2011, to strengthen political, economic and cultural ties between the two countries. The Ministers expressed their determination to further expand and consolidate the relationship.
5.      Minister Nkoana-Mashabane extended the invitation by President Zuma to Prime Minister Modi to visit the Republic of South Africa at his earliest convenience. Minister Swaraj handed over invitations to Minister Nkoana Mashabane and President Zuma to visit India to participate in the third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) in October 2015.
6.      The Chairs recognised that the Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) held on 20 January 2015 in New Delhi, contributed significantly to the good relations and interaction that exist between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of India. It was agreed that the next FOC should be held in Pretoria in 2016.
7.      Prior to the meeting of the Honourable Ministers, the following Sub-Committees met to provide inputs to the Joint Commission: Political, Defence and Security Matters; Trade, Economic and Technical Co-operation; Information and Communications Technology; Minerals and Energy; Art, Culture, Sports and Recreation; Human Resource Development; Consular and Immigration Matters. The Sub-committees reviewed the decisions taken during the 8th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission held in New Delhi in 2011 and expressed satisfaction with the progress that had been achieved. The Ministers considered and approved the reports of these Sub-committees, which are annexed and form an integral part of the Communiqué of the Ninth Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission.
8.      The Sub-committees were guided by the following principles:
•       Assess the current areas of cooperation and the implementation status thereof. Review the progress achieved since the last JMC;
•       Identify key areas of future cooperation;
•       Determine deliverable projects/programs that are time-bound and outcome-based;
•       Stipulate/identify responsible individuals/entities/focal points for both countries in order to secure implementation;
•        Identify challenges, if any, and propose possible solutions and high-level political intervention as may be required.
9.       The JMC provided an opportunity to further enhance cooperation on a wide range of bilateral issues as well as in multilateral, political and economic developments. The two sides agreed to continue working together to intensify collaboration and strengthen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest. Both parties also discussed the following issues:
A:  Political and Social
10.     Based on the shared history of solidarity, both sides reiterated the importance the two countries attach to their bilateral strategic relationship. They agreed to keep enhancing the frequent contact between political leaders through bilateral visits and meetings on the side-lines of multilateral occasions, exchanges of letters and sending special envoys to each other, maintaining the momentum of high-level exchanges, and strengthening communication and coordination on major issues of mutual concern.
11.     Both sides agreed to take a long term strategic approach to the bilateral cooperation agenda as set out in the work of the respective Sub-committees through the development of a “Five Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of India”. The Strategic Programme for Cooperation will be reviewed annually, and updated at the end of the first five year period and renewed for the second five year period.
12.     In her opening statement, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane noted that the comprehensive strategic partnership between South Africa and India, established through the Red Fort Declaration (March 1997) and reaffirmed in the Tshwane Declaration (October 2006), continues to inform the ambitious targets set for bilateral cooperation and the implementation milestones set in the Five Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation.
13.     In her opening statement, Minister Swaraj noted that the expanding trade and investment relations between the two countries are of great importance for both of them. She invited the South African entities to avail of the new opportunities which have become available under the Government of India’s new initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Clean India, etc.
14.     The Ministers agreed during bilateral discussions in January 2015, in India to expand the areas of cooperation to include the following:
•       Finance;
•       Tourism;
•       Business Process Outsourcing;
•       Infrastructure;
•       Defence;
•       Deep mining; and,
•       Coal and gas.
15.      Minister Swaraj highlighted the strategic partnership between India and South Africa and expressed satisfaction at the regular exchanges at high levels between the two countries including the visit of President Zuma to India to attend the Fourth BRICS Summit. Meetings between Prime Minister Modi and President Zuma on the side-lines of various multilateral forums have given direction to our relations. Ms Nkoana-Mashabane visited India in January, 2015 to participate in Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as Guest of Honour that commemorated the Centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa. There have been several Ministerial level exchanges which have contributed to driving the relationship forward in a number of sectors. The Minister hoped that President Zuma would participate at the next India-Africa Forum Summit scheduled to be held in October, 2015 in India.
16.     India expressed its appreciation for Minister Mashabane’s assurance to consider favourably India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group.
17.     South Africa welcomed with appreciation the offer made by India to extend training assistance to the South African National Defence Force in IT and setting up Cyber Security architecture, as well as assistance in the field of armed forces medical services, including training across all spheres. India proposed also to host a Technology and Industry Seminar where areas of collaboration on co-development of defence hardware could be identified.
Human Resource Development
18.     Both sides discussed the draft Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Higher Education and decided to fast-track its conclusion, which will facilitate cooperation in academic exchanges, research and mutual recognition of academic qualifications. It was also agreed that upon conclusion of the proposed Agreement, a Joint Working Group, would be formed under its ambit, to identify programmes and monitor the implementation of this Agreement in the areas agreed upon.
Skills Development and Training
19.     Both sides undertook to promote good practices of governance and administration through the implementation of pragmatic focus areas within the framework of existing memoranda of understanding. The two sides will work towards the advancement of addressing scarce skills development.
20.      The Ministers expressed their willingness to invest the necessary resources to strengthen exchanges in a sustainable manner for the betterment of service delivery through the employment of enhanced critical skills within the public service.
Consular and Immigration Matters
21.     Both sides agreed to explore measures to facilitate the ease of business travel between South Africa and India. Areas for consideration would include the extension of multiple entry business visas for longer periods and the exploration of the proposal to introduce a BRICS Business Travel Card. Minister Swaraj welcomed South Africa’s decision to issue long term, multiple entry visas for business executives from BRICS countries.
22.      Both sides noted the importance of promoting tourist travel, in the context of the strong cultural and historic links between South Africa and India. In this regard, it was proposed that the issuance of multiple entry tourist visas to facilitate packaged tours to multiple destinations within the respective countries be considered.
Arts and Culture
23.      Both sides noted with satisfaction the cooperation and collaboration in the fields of arts, culture and heritage and recognised the importance of establishing people-to-people contacts and institution-to-institution agreements in the field of culture and both sides noted the on-going efforts to sign a Programme of Cooperation between India and South Africa in the field of Arts and Culture for 2015-17.
24.     The two Ministers agreed that cultural exchanges contribute significantly to forging close bonds of friendship and amity between the peoples of the two countries. They welcomed recent agreement to receive digital images of the issues of Indian Opinion and noted that a MoU would shortly be signed to erect a Permanent Gandhi Exhibition at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station
25.      Emphasising the development of relations in sports, the two parties agreed to support mutual cooperation in the field of sports through exploring the signing of a MoU as well as exchange of delegations.
Regional Issues
26.     South Africa briefed the session on the latest developments in Africa, particularly Agenda 2063, which is African Union’s Road Map on African development. It was informed that South Africa will host the 25th Summit of the African Union on 14 and 15 June 2015.
27.      Views were exchanged on peace and security issues in Africa. Both sides supported each other in their respective initiatives towards playing a greater role in African integration.
South Asia
28.     India briefed the meeting on the latest developments in the South Asian region.
29.     Both sides hold that they have common approaches and broad common interests on major international issues and are willing to jointly uphold and promote multilateralism as well as the democratisation of international relations. They agreed to cooperate and coordinate in international affairs to advance the common interests of both countries, as well as the interests of other developing countries, and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the world at large.
30.     Both sides reaffirmed that they will jointly safeguard the central role of the United Nations in international affairs.
31.     The Chairs agreed to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation in accordance with the principles of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect, deepen South-South solidarity and cooperation, and jointly address the challenges in peace and development in order to achieve economic development of countries of the South.
32.     Both sides will work towards the successful outcome of the intergovernmental negotiations for the post-2015 United Nations (UN) Development Agenda as well as its effective implementation.
United Nations (UN)
33.     The two sides discussed a wide range of contemporary global and regional issues including UNSC reform, international terrorism, WTO issues, and climate change. They agreed to further strengthen their cooperation on the question of UNSC reform. The two leaders reaffirmed their intent to cooperate strongly in all multilateral fora including G-77, G-20, IORA, IBSA, BRICS and the Commonwealth.
34.     Minister Swaraj congratulated South Africa on its leadership of the Group of G77 and China.
35.     Both parties noted that 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN. They agreed that this presented a unique opportunity to expedite the reform of the UN, including the Security Council.
36.     The Ministers expressed concern at the slow pace of progress on the subject of UN reforms in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) process underway at the United Nations for the last several years. They reiterated that seventy years after the founding of the United Nations and 10 years since the 2005 World Summit, when all Heads of State and Government had collectively called for early reforms of the United Nations Security Council, tangible progress was still lacking.
37.     In this regard the Ministers emphasised the need for urgently pushing ahead the process of reforming the UN Security Council with a view to achieving concrete outcome by the 70th Anniversary Summit of the United Nations in September 2015. The Ministers noted that India and South Africa being members of the L-69 Group of developing countries should actively work together and build alliances with pro-reform delegations with common objective of securing a representative and expanded Security Council which is reflective of contemporary realities.
38.     The Ministers also welcomed the strong commitment shown by the President of the 69th General Assembly H.E. Sam Kutesa in making the issue of UNSC reform one of the top priorities of his tenure and also expressed their appreciation of support to the new Chair of the IGN, H.E. Courtenay Rattray in decisively pushing the IGN process forward through a text based negotiation process.
39.     Both sides conveyed their mutual support to each other for their candidatures for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council.
Climate Change
40.     The Ministers expressed hope that a balanced, comprehensive and equitable agreement for the post 2020 period will be adopted under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 21st Conference of the Parties to be held in Paris in November/December 2015. The Ministers stressed that the agreement must enhance the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention and be in accordance with the principles and provisions of the Convention, including the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities (CBDR&RC). They underlined the significance of a strong and united G77 and China group position on various climate change issues under negotiations and emphasised the crucial role the BASIC countries would need to play in achieving a successful outcome at Paris. The Ministers called for an open, transparent and inclusive negotiating process leading up to the Paris outcome.
Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)
41.     Both parties agreed to work together to further strengthen the IORA. They welcomed the establishment of a Core Group on the Ocean Economy. The Republic of India expressed its full support for South Africa as the incoming Vice-Chair of the IORA in 2015 - and later, in 2017, as the Chair of IORA.
The Chairs reflected on the recent Workshop of the Blue Economy Core Group of IORA that was hosted by South Africa in Durban on 4 and 5 May 2015, and noted with appreciation South Africa’s elaboration on the priorities that it would focus on during its forthcoming Chairing of IORA. They also noted with appreciation India’s initiative for cooperation in the field of Blue/Ocean economy.
42.     Both sides look forward to the first IORA Ocean Economy Ministerial Meeting to be held in September 2015 in Mauritius. Both India and South Africa agreed to work together as well as with other countries so that IORA can realise its full potential and firmly place itself as an apex organisation in the region.
Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS)
43.     Both sides acknowledged the significant role played by the BRICS mechanism in achieving more representative and equitable global governance, and promoting more inclusive global growth. The two sides agreed to enhance coordination and cooperation within the BRICS mechanism, with a view to improving global political and economic governance, and enhancing the voice of emerging markets and developing countries in international affairs.
44.     The Ministers stressed the need to deal with challenges facing the world today and seek win-win results based on universally recognised norms of international law, as well as the spirit of mutual respect and multilateral collective decision making.
45.     Both sides will collaborate to ensure that the BRICS New Development Bank and its Africa Regional Centre in South Africa start operation at an early date. They will also continue to work together to enhance intra-BRICS trade, investment and financial cooperation.
46.     The Republic of South Africa welcomed the appointment of Mr KV Kamath as head of the New Development Bank and its African Regional Centre.
India, Brazil, South Africa (IBSA)
47.     The Chairs confirmed that they remain committed to IBSA cooperation and political coordination on contemporary issues in the global arena. Of note is the reform of the UN and the UNSC. Both sides remain convinced that IBSA provides an ideal Forum to voice the concerns of the Developing South in calling for this urgent reform.
48.     Both sides look forward to the holding of the Eighth Trilateral Ministerial Commission and IBSA Working Group Meetings by South Africa at an early date followed by the IBSA Summit to be hosted by India.
India-Africa Forum Summit
49.     South Africa welcomed the invitation received from India for the third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) scheduled from 26 to 30 October 2015 in New Delhi. Both sides are confident that the Summit will provide an opportunity to review and update the Joint Plan of Action in view of the new priorities for Africa and India. Further, it will serve to deepen the partnership and to intensify, diversify and multiply the trade and economic relations between India and Africa.
50.     Minister Swaraj noted that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and strongly condemned State-sponsored cross border terrorism and pointed out that there could be no tolerance for States sheltering, arming, training, or financing terrorists. As part of its endeavour for cooperation with other States in global counter-terrorism efforts, India actively engages at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. The Ministers observed that on-going developments in Syria and Iraq clearly point to the fact that terrorism is now a globalised phenomenon with a strong inter connected element of localisation.
51.     The Ministers agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in the global fight against the menace of terrorism.
B: Economic and Technical
52.     The Ministers assessed the level of economic and commercial relations between the two countries. They emphasised the need to develop strategies to significantly expand trade cooperation. This would include the establishment of JWG for promotion of bilateral trade and investment.
53.     They agreed to address obstacles and challenges through bilateral exchanges and meetings between their respective public and private sectors, including under the existing mechanisms.
54.     Both sides encouraged the exchange of trade missions, participation in trade fairs hosted by the other side, and promotion of competitive products to each other in order to expand trade volume, improve trade structure, promote balanced and sustainable development of the bilateral trade, and strive to further increase the current bilateral trade volume.
55.     To strengthen mutual understanding, promote friendly cooperation, and pursue mutual development of the film industry, both sides will encourage further film exchanges and cooperation, including the signing of a film co-production agreement, and hosting as well as participating in national and international film festivals etc.
56.     Both sides agreed on the need to expedite the consultations and hold the 6th round of negotiations on India-SACU PTA at the earliest possible opportunity.
57.     Both sides agreed to participate in each other’s key sectoral exhibitions, including Mining, Tourism, Capital Equipment, Agro-Processing, Oil and Gas and Defence sectors.
58.     Both sides agreed to co-operate in their respective regional bodies including SACU, Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC), and SAARC, in accordance with the relevant rules and practices of the concerned regional bodies.
59.     Both sides undertook to provide preferential policies and measures, equitable legal environment, and pragmatic and efficient government services for investors from the other side, to invest and do business in their respective countries. The two sides will encourage and support their enterprises to increase direct investments in fields such as agriculture, fishery, energy, mining, particularly mineral beneficiation, manufacturing, infrastructure building, including water conservancy, electricity, telecommunications, roads, railways, ports and airports, and finance and tourism, with the aim of significantly increasing two-way investment, and creating more job opportunities, tax revenues and foreign reserves for both sides.
60.     The Ministers agreed to explore cooperation on industrial development and technology transfer.
61.     Both sides expressed their willingness to encourage their respective private sectors to participate in, and prioritise areas such as the defence sector, deep mining, and infrastructure.
Small Business Development
62.     Both sides noted that the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC), Government of India had signed a MoU with Black Business Council (BBC) of South Africa for developing and promoting MSMEs in South Africa for unemployed youth on January 19, 2015.
Minerals and Energy
63.     Both sides agreed to explore areas of further collaboration in the field of renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar and bio-energy and collaboration in energy efficiency. It was also agreed to support the growth of investment in both the renewable energy and the energy efficiency sectors.
64.     Both sides agreed to explore further cooperation in the coal sector through encouraging investment in mining, collaboration in the area of clean coal technology, deep mining and coal-to-liquid technology as well as in sharing expertise, advanced technologies and best practices in the coal sector.
65.     Both sides expressed interest in collaboration in upstream and downstream industries with regard to oil refining activities and to encourage the growing partnership between PetroSA and ONGC Videsh.
Finance and Banking
66.     Both sides agreed to enhance relations between the financial institutions of the two countries and expressed their willingness to strengthen links between the financial sectors, particularly with regards to the banking sector, in order to further expand mutual trade and investments opportunities.
Science and Technology
67.     The Chairs agreed that due to the comprehensive cooperation that is already in existence between South Africa and India, a Sub-committee on Science, Technology and Innovation be launched that will participate as a full member in future Joint Ministerial Commissions.
68.     Both sides declared their readiness to strengthen personnel and technology exchanges, and to promote capacity building in the agriculture sector through exchanging delegations, hosting technology and management workshops and strengthening cooperation between research institutes, universities and colleges of the two countries.
69.     Both sides expressed their willingness to strengthen cooperation in areas such as aquaculture and aquatic product processing and to support exchanges of delegations and cooperation in the fishery sector.
Information and Communications Technology
70.     Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of Information and Communications Technology. They agreed to pursue support programmes and commit to the establishment of a sectoral committee to support new ICT research areas. Through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the fields of ICT, both sides will enhance the focus on skills development and expertise exchange to cultivate more specialists to utilise the ever-advancing information and communication technology. The two sides noted the considerable scope for joint cooperation projects in the area of ICTs between the two countries. The following focus areas have been identified:
•       Bridging the digital divide through last-mile connectivity      authentication and through use of Free and Open Source Software         (FOSS);
•       Popularising ICTs in schools;
•       Technology parks;
•       Cyber security;
•       e-Governance including e-Postal;
•       Telemedicine; and
•       Exchange of experts for sharing best practices; and
•               Promoting business-to-business cooperation through mobility of  professionals
Implementation Mechanism
71.     Both sides agreed to fully utilise the mechanisms of the JMC and to strengthen coordination, monitor implementation and review the proposed Five Year Strategic Programme on Cooperation between the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of India to identify and address problems, promote cooperation, and ensure comprehensive and effective implementation of the Program in a timely manner.
72.     The Indian Delegation, led by Minister Sushma Swaraj, expressed its deep gratitude to Minister Nkoana Mashabane and the Government and people of South Africa for the warm hospitality extended during the visit.
73.     The Chairs agreed that the next session of the Joint Ministerial Commission will be held in India at a mutually agreed date.

This communiqué was signed on this 19th day of May 2015 in Durban, in two copies, in English.
For the Republic of South Africa H.E. Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashabane Minister of International Relations and Cooperation

For the Republic of India H.E. Smt. Sushma Swaraj Minister of External Affairs & Overseas Indian Affairs





February/March 2020








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