The days are busy for New Delhi, as it is occupied with attending multiple meetings in a day, considering the tight schedule of the G20, which it happens to host this year. One such meeting was of the 20 countries’ foreign ministers, who participated as delegates to discuss and deliberate.
South Africa’s Ms. Naledi Pandor understands the Indian stand
During the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, negotiations were initiated. However, New Delhi faced a difficult time bringing all the delegates to a common consensus with the Russia-Ukraine war in the background. Understanding the present state of India, the Foreign Minister of South Africa, Naledi Pandor, in an interview, supported India’s stand. After meeting EAM S Jaishankar, she said that India and South Africa share the same view that we should employ all means of diplomacy to have a peaceful settlement between Russia and Ukraine.
Before the meeting, Ms. Pandor expressed her happiness and appreciated the theme put forth by India, “Drawing the World Together” and addressing developmental challenges. She further said, “India is a country that facilitates good values and promotes peace and coherence across the world.”
Stretching along the same lines, it is a great opportunity to learn about the relationship shared between India and South Africa in 2023, at a time when both nations celebrate their 30 years of bilateral association.
Decades of comradeship
When the independence of one country is mentioned, corollary, the struggle for freedom of the other country is also quoted. The connection found its root with Mahatma Gandhi, who started his Satyagraha movement in South Africa a century ago. Nelson Mandela, the “freedom fighter” of South Africa, admired Gandhi and drew inspiration from him for the “Anti-Apartheid Movement.”
Amusingly, a place in South Africa is an expression of the old friendship between the countries—Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, which was usually seen as a prison. But now the hill is a museum, displaying two permanent exhibitions orbiting around the lives of the two revolutionaries.
The cultural camaraderie found in Durban
Durban, the third-most populous city in South Africa, is also the largest host to the Indian diaspora in the country. It is said that every one in three people in Durban is of Indian origin. The fusion of values between both countries is so strong that one will catch a glimpse of Indian culture in the majority of households.
From cooking methods to traditional clothing to dance and music, everything in the city symbolically represents comradery and closeness between India and South Africa.
The economic affinity
Till today, India’s cumulative investment stands at US$ 70 billion, whereas South Africa’s cumulative FDI amounts to US$ 589.76 million. It was found that the countries have executed 193 projects successfully. Presently, they have 66 projects under execution, and 88 projects are in the pre-execution stage.
The major areas of trade between India and Africa are quite diverse, with each meeting marking a new collaboration. The major exported items from India to South Africa are mineral oils and products, bituminous substances, mineral waxes, petroleum products, motor vehicle parts, etc. The major imported items by India from South Africa comprise pearls, precious or semi-precious stones/metals, gold, imitation jewellery, mineral fuels, coal, coke, briquettes, etc.
An unending affair
The above-mentioned areas are not the only ones where India and South Africa are collaborating and building cooperation and confidence among each other. The evolution in their relationship comes from other spheres as well, such as BRICS, where the two developing nations form the core of the grouping. The two are in an unending affair and from time to time come together to discover a new area to engage and evolve in. Lately, the foreign minister of South Africa has welcomed Indian Pharma companies to establish themselves in South Africa.
As South Africa is set to host the G20 in 2025, one can predict that the bilateral relationship between the countries is going to see a positive curve.