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Indian PM proposes economic freedom with South Africa

Indian PM proposes economic freedom with South Africa

South Africa

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed the institution of economic freedom between his country and South Africa as the two have had a history that brought about their political freedom.

Speaking to South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday in Pretoria, as part of his African tour, Modi emphasized on using their common battles to create a solid foundation for trade between the two countries.

“The combined trade (between India and South Africa) has increased by over 300% over the last decade. We worked together in our common fight against racial subjugation and colonialism. Our values, our sufferings and our common battles represent a solid foundation for our strategic partnership,” he said.

Our leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi brought us political freedom. Now it's time to get on with economic freedom.

Arriving in South Africa on Thursday night, Narendra Modi had visited Mozambique and will continue to Tanzania and Kenya to strengthen India’s economic influence on the continent.

“Our leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi brought us political freedom. Now it’s time to get on with economic freedom”, Narendra Modi added during the signing of agreements in information technology, tourism, mining, pharmaceuticals and defense.

Jacob Zuma, on his part, acknowledged India’s campaign against apartheid and colonialism adding that they will work together to deepen their bilateral ties.

“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.,” he said.

Zuma added that it is important that the two countries continue to work together in the quest for peace and security on the continent acknowledging the leading role that India is playing in the peacekeeping efforts in Africa.

India is currently the sixth partner of South Africa, with a combined trade of 5.3 billion between 2015-2016.

Narendra Modi is scheduled to meet the Indian diaspora in Johannesburg on Friday night and he is expected to visit the house of Ghandi on Saturday in Durban.

South Africa has 1.3 million people of Indian origin, the largest community in Africa. The Indian presence in Africa has been rivaled by China, whose trade with Africa reached $ 200 billion last year.