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Zuma, India PM promise new era of trade ties

South African President Jacob Zuma Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (born Inkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, April 12, 1942) is a former Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa and current deputy president of the governing political party, the African National Congress (ANC). , on his first state visit to Asia, said it was time to take trade ties with India to a "higher level" after talks Friday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Accompanied by what he described as the largest South African business delegation to visit any country, Zuma said the two leaders had held fruitful discussions on a host of "critical strategic issues."

As well as boosting trade, the talks covered reform of the UN Security Council, closer cooperation on climate change and the global economy.

Trade between the two countries currently stands at 7.5 billion dollars annually but Zuma said he wanted that to grow to 10 billion dollars by 2012.

"We need to take our relations to a higher level," the president said.

Together with Brazil, India and South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa.  have formed an informal grouping of emerging market nations, pushing for a stronger voice in international institutions such as the IMF IMF

See: International Monetary Fund


See International Monetary Fund (IMF).
 and the United Nations.

"We believe we cannot continue to be governed by rules and regulations drawn up in the early or mid 1940s," Zuma said.

"The world has changed. We need to change," he added.

Singh told reporters that there had been a general agreement to focus on the expansion of bilateral economic, trade and investment ties.

"Our economies have come of age," the prime minister said.

Zuma's visit comes amid reports that Indian mobile phone group Reliance Communications is considering a possible merger with South Africa's MTN MTN

A short-form for Medium Term Note.


Medium term notes issued by corporations, much like shorter-term commercial paper.


See medium-term note (MTN).
, Africa's largest cellular firm.

The Economic Times newspaper said Reliance wanted to generate equity to fund its move into the third-generation mobile phone market, licences for which were sold last week at an Indian government auction.

India and South Africa have historic ties dating back to the 1860s.

The father of the Indian independence movement, Mahatma mahatma (məhăt`mə, –hät`–) [Sanskrit,=great-souled], honorific title used in India among Hindus for a person of superior holiness. Mohandas Gandhi is the best-known figure to whom the title was applied.  Gandhi, lived in South Africa and formed his ideas of non-violent struggle there before returning home to lead the fight against British rule.

India was a leading supporter of the anti-apartheid movement and broke off diplomatic ties with the all-white regime in South Africa as early as 1946.

"The support that we got from India was exceptional," Zuma said earlier Friday during a ceremonial welcome hosted by Indian President Pratibha Patil.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Jun 4, 2010
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