PRETORIA, July 8 (Xinhua) — India has won South Africa’s support to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday.
The NSG seeks to prevent nuclear proliferation by keeping a check on the export of material, equipment and technology that can lead to the making of a nuclear bomb.
“President Zuma and I agreed at the need to work closely on global challenges. I thank the President for South Africa support to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Modi told a press conference in Pretoria after meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma.
The Indian leader arrived from Mozambique earlier in the day on a two-day visit. He will also go to Kenya and Tanzania on a four-nation tour of the continent.
To seek SA’s support for India’s bid to join the 48-member NSG is high on the agenda of Modi’s visit.
South Africa previously had reservations about India’s participation in the NSG because Dehli is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Speaking at the joint press conference, Zuma said Modi’s visit “has certainly further strengthened the already warm historical relations between the two countries, and has taken cooperation to a higher level”.
“Our countries enjoy strong relations and cooperation in social, economic, political and global cooperation,” Zuma said, adding that the visit enables the two countries to further enhance trade, investment and commercial relations.
India is South Africa’s sixth largest trade partner, with trade in 2015 standing at almost 95 billion rand (about 6.6 billion U.S. dollars). Trade with India represented 4.9 percent of South Africa’s imports and 4.1 percent of exports last year.
While the trade surplus is in favour of India, efforts are underway to promote South African exports of especially value added products.
“We are looking to increase and diversify South African exports to India. We have identified new areas for market access including the defence, deep mining, renewable Energy and health sectors,” Zuma said.
Zuma identified future sectors for possible cooperation which include agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, mining, water and waste management, retail, financing and infrastructure development.
The president said the two countries have agreed to enhance cooperation in international fora, specifically within the context of BRICS, India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) forum, the G77 plus China, Commonwealth and the G20, among others.
Zuma emphasized the need for greater cooperation between the two BRICS member countries to build financial institutions such as the BRICS Development Bank.
“As South Africa, we hope to open the first regional center of the New Development Bank dedicated to infrastructure projects in Africa,” Zuma said.
He also said the two countries will continue to work closely on the reform of the United Nations and its organs, specifically the Security Council, as well as the international financial institutions. Enditem