The 69th Republic Day was celebrated in South Africa with Indian Mission vowing to build a stronger relationship with the African country. Indian High Commissioner Ruchira Kamboj addressing the audience said “South Africa is very close to our heart,” and the two countries share a “very special” relationship. “It is in our ethos to contribute to building a better composite and cohesive world at peace with itself and at peace with nature. These are the principles which we bring to the international community and which we bring to South Africa,” the Indian high commissioner to the country said. Consul General K J Srinivasa said 2018 marks a “wonderful year” for India and South Africa. “It commemorates the 125th anniversary of the incident at Pietermaritzburg when Mahatma Gandhi was evicted from the train that led to his involvement in the struggle against discrimination and which in turn led to the independence of India and many other nations,” he said. Srinivasa said 2018 also marks the 25th year of the resumption of formal diplomatic relations between India and South Africa. “It also marks the 20th year of a strategic relationship between South Africa and India with the Red Fort Declaration signed between Nelson Mandela and our then prime minister Deve Gowda,” he said.
Srinivasa said the Indian Mission has many events lined up for the year to encourage the building of a stronger relationship with South Africa. “In April, we are trying to encourage bilateral trade and commerce by holding a mega event – the India-Africa Business Summit – at the Sandton Convention Centre (in Johannesburg). “We hope to get together small and big companies from both India and South Africa to discuss how we can grow business manifold,” he said.