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Joint Communique of the 10th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission between the Republic of India and the Republic of South Africa, New Delhi, 17 January 2020

1. His Excellency, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the Honourable Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India (EAM) and Her Excellency Dr. Naledi Pandor, the Honourable Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa (SAFM), co-chaired the 10th Session of the Joint Ministerial Commission on 17 January 2020 in New Delhi.

2. SAFM thanked her host for the hospitality extended to her and the delegation. She paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister of India and conveyed good wishes of President Ramaphosa to the people of the Republic of India.

3. In their opening remarks, both Ministers expressed their satisfaction at the strong bilateral relations and stressed the important role played by regular consultations across various mechanisms at the Ministerial and Senior Officials level in enhancing ties. Both Ministers acknowledged that the regular holding of Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs), with the recent FOC being held in Pretoria on 3 October 2019, contributed significantly to enhancing the warm and cordial relations between the two countries.

4. Both Ministers expressed satisfaction with the ongoing implementation of the Three Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation, which was signed during President Ramaphosa's visit to India in January 2019.

5. Senior Officials of both sides met on 13th January 2020 and reviewed the decisions taken during the 9th JMC in Pretoria in 2015 and also the 'Three Year Strategic Programme of Cooperation'. Both Ministers were briefed on the outcomes in different sectors between two countries.

6. During the JMC, the following issues were discussed:

A. Bilateral:

Political relations

7. Both sides welcomed increased bilateral visits in recent years and agreed to maintain frequent and regular contacts between political leaders through bilateral visits and meetings on the sidelines of multilateral events. Both sides agreed to further enhance communication and coordination between both the countries on major issues of mutual concern.

8. The Ministers agreed to continue to work closely together to implement the Strategic Programme of Cooperation with particular emphasis in the focus areas of, Deep Mining technology and equipment, Information technology, Science and technology, Agro-processing, Energy, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare, Tourism, Financial Services, SME and Water Resources Management and Sanitation.

9. EAM noted that South Africa is a valuable partner and a friend of India in the African continent. He extended invitations to concerned South African Ministers to participate in Africa Ministerial meets in the run-up to India Africa Forum Summit IV (IAFS-IV), the India-Africa Defence Ministers Meet to be held in February 2020 and the India-Africa Agriculture Meet to be held in March 2020.

10. EAM congratulated South Africa on forthcoming assumption of the position of African Union Chair in 2020 and expressed hope that the IAFS IV would be organized successfully with the support from South Africa as the Chair.

11. SAFM's assured to consider favorably, India's candidature to a non-permanent seat of the UNSC for term 2021-22 and India's bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Defence

12. South Africa acknowledged the invitations extended by India to South Africa to participate in India-Africa Defense Minister's Meet, DEFEXPO 2020 and MILAN 2020 and informed that 20 South African companies are participating in the DEFEXPO-2020.

13. Both sides expressed satisfaction with the regular holding of India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime Exercise (IBSAMAR). The IBSAMAR VII is scheduled at Simon's Town in South Africa in September-October 2020. The Ministers agreed that both sides should finalize the agreements that are currently under discussion. They also agreed to identify new areas of cooperation especially in the realm of Air Force and to the visit of an Air Force scoping delegation to South Africa.

Trade and Investment

14. The Ministers, while acknowledging the growth in bilateral trade volume noted the considerable scope for growth in commercial and investment relations through facilitation of cooperation between business entities in India and South Africa.

15. Both sides encouraged the exchange of trade missions and participation in trade fairs and exhibitions.

16. Both sides agreed on the need to expedite the consultations to finalise the India-SACU PTA at the earliest.

Agriculture

17. The Ministers noted the progress made in Agriculture sector at the recent FoC meeting, where both the countries agreed to identify two agricultural products for mutual market access and tasked their officials to quickly facilitate market access to these products.

18. EAM expressed hope that the barriers to trade in agro-processed sectors (seafood and bovine meat) would be removed soon and tasked their officials to address and resolve the issues related to phytosanitary regulations and others on priority.

19. The Work plan that has been under discussion between South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has been finalized and is ready for signature.

Minerals and Energy

20. EAM reiterated India's invite to South Africa to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as it would further boost South Africa's aim to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and encourage more collaboration in renewable energy specially in solar energy.

21. Both sides welcomed the finalization of the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources which would provide a framework for cooperation in joint investigations and scientific exchanges concerning the field of geology and mineral resources.

Tourism

22. Both sides welcomed the finalization of an Action Plan on implementation of MoU on Tourism aimed at promoting bilateral tourism growth. South Africa agreed to facilitate the final winding up of the Indian Tourism Office in Johannesburg.

Consular and Immigration Matters

23. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the signing of the agreement between India and South Africa on simplification of visa for travel of certain categories of citizens signed in Pretoria on 5 December 2019 and noted that implementation would become effective from 20th January 2020. EAM also welcomed South Africa's decision to include India in the select list of countries for its e.visa Pilot Project in the year 2020. SA side expressed its appreciation that India is already offering e.visa facility to South African nationals since 2016. The Ministers agreed that sincere implementation of these measures would help in enhancing people to people relations and nurturing cultural linkages.

24. With regard to Indian nationals who are resident in Lesotho and Eswatini, South African authorities agreed that these categories of travellers will benefit from long-term multiple entry visa in terms of the Agreement on Simplification of Visa Requirements. SAFM assured to resolve the concerns of the Indian side raised over the work visa related issues for Indian investors.

25. Both sides agreed to institutionalize a regular Consular Dialogue mechanism between India and South Africa to discuss consular and visa related issues.

Arts and Culture

26. Both sides noted with satisfaction the cooperation in the fields of arts, culture and heritage and agreed to continue activities as per the existing Programme of Cooperation. The Ministers agreed to an early conclusion of pending MoUs in the field of Audio Visual Co-production and the MoU on Cooperation in the field of National Archives.

27. The Ministers welcomed series of cultural exchanges that took place during the last five years, enhanced people to people contact and strengthened close bonds of friendship and goodwill between the peoples of the two countries, especially the Festival of India in South Africa held in September 2019 as well as the continuing socio-cultural celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Sports

28. Both sides agreed to support mutual cooperation in the field of sports through exchange of delegations. They identified the disciplines of wrestling and rugby sports for beginning this collaboration under the MoU on Cooperation in the field of Sports and Recreation.

Human Resource Development and Education

29. Both sides expressed their satisfaction on the ongoing research and academic collaboration under the 'Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration' (SPARC) and 'Global Initiative of Academic Networks' (GIAN) and decided to fast-track the early conclusion of Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Higher Education and Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Qualifications, which will facilitate enhanced cooperation in academic exchanges, research and mutual recognition of qualifications. India offered South African students to avail courses under its 'Study in India' programme.

30. SAFM expressed appreciation for India's contribution in the establishment of the Gandhi-Mandela Skills Centre in Tshwane. Both sides look forward to its hard launch scheduled in February- March 2020.

31. EAM while expressing hope that the South Africa would make efforts to maximize the utilization of training programmes and scholarships through greater coordination and partnership under ICCR, IAFS and ITEC programmes, etc. and conveyed that India is favourably considering the proposal by the South African side for customized training courses under ITEC scholarship programme which would assist South Africa in realizing its national development objectives.

Science and Technology

32. EAM expressed appreciation for South Africa's assistance in India's Chandrayan missions and Missions to Antarctica.

33. Both sides agreed to strengthen the role of the Joint Working Group on science and technology and to deepen the overall collaboration and exchanges.

Health

34. Both sides welcomed the ongoing discussions on the issue of recognition of Indian Pharmacopoeia in South Africa and noted that it will contribute towards increasing provisions of affordable drugs.

B. Regional:

Africa

35. South Africa gave a briefing on the latest developments in Africa, specially the implementation of the recently concluded African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2019.

South Asia

36. India briefed the meeting on the latest developments in the South Asian region.

C. Multilateral:

37. Both sides stressed the importance of working towards common interests in multilateral forums and agreed to cooperate on major international issues and towards promoting democratization and reforms of international organisations. The Chairs agreed to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation in accordance with the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and also focus and strengthening South-South cooperation and proposed to effectively raise the UN reforms agenda during the 75th Anniversary of the UN. They also agreed to highlight it on the platforms of IBSA and IAFS.

38. The two sides discussed a wide range of contemporary global and regional issues including UN Security Council reform, terrorism, Climate Change. The chairs agreed to further enhance cooperation in all multilateral forum including G-20, BRICS, IBSA, IORA and the Commonwealth.

39. Both sides conveyed their mutual support for permanent membership candidature of UN Security Council.

40. EAM reiterated India's invite to South Africa to join Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) as a founding member.

Appreciation

41. The South African delegation, led by Minister Pandor expressed its deep gratitude to Minister Jaishankar and the Government and the People of India for the warm hospitality extended during the visit.

42. The Chairs agreed that the next session of the Joint Ministerial Commission will be held in South Africa at a mutually agreed date.

This communique was signed on this 17th day of January 2020 in New Delhi, in two copies, in English.

Source: Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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