Benefits of India’s economic progress available for Africa: PM Modi

New Delhi: Describing India as “one of the brightest spots” of the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered the benefits of the country’s economic progress to Africa, especially South Africa, for its larger good.

Pitching for increase in cooperation between India and South Africa, he said, “The history of our people-to-people ties provides a strong foundation to build our modern day partnership.” Addressing a reception hosted by the Durban Mayor in his honour, Modi said India and South Africa should take advantage of the “great opportunities that occupy our bright future”. “Today, India is undergoing an economic transformation.

And, South Africa is one of the leading economies of Africa.

Our trade and investment partnership is already substantial,” he said just before winding up his two-day maiden visit to this country. “Today, in our inter-dependent world India’s growth story is one of the brightest spots. But, India’s economic advance is not for the benefit of our society alone. The embrace of our partnership is open to the larger good of Africa and our friends like South Africa,” the Prime Minister said.

Referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s special association with South Africa and his concerns about his fellow South Africans, he said, “While our challenges in the 21st century may have changed, our developmental concerns are common.It would be my efforts, that the outcome of our development partnership reaches those sections of our society who needed the most, specially its youth.”

Modi, who held detailed talks with South African President Jacob Zuma yesterday, said they had agreed to advance the strategic ties across the whole range of social and economic sectors, including trade and investments, development of small and medium businesses, Information and communication Technologies and capacity and institution building.

“Several of these are core strengths of Kwazulu Natal (the province in which Durban is located), and would hence reinforce our traditional ties with Durban,” he added. “We also agreed to work together for stronger security and defence relations,” the Prime Minister said. While referring to the close relations between the two countries, Modi talked about cricket, saying, “The passion and love for this game runs wide and deep in our societies.” Praising the Indian diaspora which constitutes the largest population in South Africa, he said they are “proud, successful and loyal citizens of this country”, contributing to it in various forms.

He noted that it was on November 16, 1860 that first batch of 342 Indians landed on the shores of port Natal. “Today, over a century and a half later, Durban is the largest Indian city outside India. It is home to the largest population of people of Indian origin in South Africa. The sufferings of early generations of Indians under the apartheid and colonial rule are well known. But, against all odds, they preserved their culture and values,” he said.