South Africa and India, which have a long history of working together, signed a single three-year agreement on co-operation, aimed at enhancing their strategic partnership.President Cyril Ramaphosa received a ceremonial welcome on Friday. His face was plastered on posters across parts of Delhi that thanked him for visiting the country. He was accompanied by his wife, Dr Tshepo Motsepe, and nine SA Cabinet ministers: Gwede Mantashe, Pravin Gordhan, Derek Hannekom, Naledi Pandor, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, Senzeni Zokwana and Lindiwe Sisulu.The president and Dr Motsepe also had an opportunity to pay their respects to Indian activist Mahatma Gandhi, who was known as the father of the nation.HonouredThe state visit, which comprised many stops, included a lecture in honour of Gandhi and South Africa’s first democratic president, the late Nelson Mandela, as well as bilateral talks between the two leaders.”Our whole country is grateful for the respect and honour he has bestowed upon us,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, referring to Ramaphosa’s acceptance of his invitation to visit India.Modi went to great lengths to describe the long relationship the two countries shared over the years, along with their similarities and paths towards becoming democratic states.Modi reflected on his own previous visit to South Africa, describing it as “warm” and “enthusiastic”. He said he hoped Ramaphosa had the same experience in India and, at the same time, emphasised a need for the two to continue building their relationship and working together.Although timelines were not provided for some of the plans the two countries wanted to implement, the leaders said they would soon establish a Mandela-Gandhi skills development institute and would meet with major business leaders from each other’s countries.Ramaphosa described the talks as “fruitful” and said the aim was to deepen relations between the two countries.”We were in agreement that considerable scope exists for the two countries to grow and deepen bilateral relations at numerous levels.”ExcitementRamaphosa also thanked India, which is South Africa’s second biggest trading partner, saying the country wanted to extend co-operation in the Agro-processing, defence procurement, technology and finance sectors.This comes as India’s secretary of economic relations in the ministry of external affairs, TS Tirumurti, made it clear that the country had its eyes on a deal with South African state-owned manufacturer Denel.India and South Africa have already increased interactions in maritime operations and training, and the latter’s defence force is expected to participate in the first multinational India-Africa field training exercise in March.While Indian leaders expressed excitement over Ramaphosa’s state visit, many others looked forward to having him as the country’s chief guest when it showed off its military might and celebrated its constitution on Saturday.https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/ramaphosa-in-india-mandela-gandhi-skills-development-institute-on-the-cards-20190125
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