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India is closest ally in Asia: South Africa

November 11, 2014

Describing India as its “closest ally” in Asia, on November 4, South Africa sought its help in gaining expertise in science and engineering besides pitching for better cooperation in areas like culture and education.
“We know how good India is in the field of engineering and science. We lack the necessary skills in these fields and would like India to assist us in these sectors,” South Africa’s minister of Human Settlements Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu said.

Sisulu is on her first visit to India to mark the celebration of 20 years of freedom in South Africa.

“The purpose of this visit is a gesture from the South African government to thank its Indian counterpart for all the help and support it has extended in our struggle for liberation,” Sisulu said.

The minister said bilateral relations between India and South Africa are a priority for the South African government with the two nations sharing a lot of commonalities.

“India is our closest ally in the Asian continent. We have commonality in our approach and we intend to keep it like that,” she said.

Talking about celebrating the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa next year, Sisulu said the government has decided to celebrate the occasion but details of it were not finalised yet.

“We have decided to celebrate the hundred year’s of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India. The details of celebrations are yet to be finalised. We would also like Indians to suggest us ways of how to celebrate it,” she said.

While talking about the cultural cooperation between the two countries, South African high commissioner F K Morule said much needs to be done on that front.

“Much has to be done to strengthen and promote cultural co-operation between India and South Africa. We need to do more on this,” he said.

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