Modi and Zuma
Indian Prime Minister Modi photographed with South African President Jacob ZumaPIB

South African President Zuma has sought intensified economic cooperation with India. He has said that over 100 Indian companies have been operating in South Africa and are playing a "significant role" in the country's economy and job creation.

At a joint press meeting addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday, both stressed the need to improve industry-to-industry ties to generate greater economic gains for the two countries.

While flagging defence sectors, deep mining and renewable energy as areas of bilateral cooperation, Zuma said that his government is attempting to diversify South Africa's export to India. He said water management, pharmaceuticals and infrastructure development were areas that held potential for co-operation in the future.

"Industry-to-industry ties can bring rich economic gains, give new shape to our partnership and help us play a robust regional and global role," said Prime Minister Modi who is on his first trip to mainland Africa.

Modi arrived in South Africa from Mozambique on Thursday and is currently on the second leg of his four-nation tour of Africa. During his speech, he invoked historical instances of economic cooperation in the last two decades between the two nations.

"Two-way trade has grown by over 300 per cent in the last 10 years. Indian companies hold strong business interests in South Africa," he said while adding that one-fourth of India's investments in Africa were in South Africa.

"There is potential to expand our business and investment ties further, especially in the areas of mineral and mining, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, high technology, manufacturing and information and communication technology," he said.

Modi also thanked South Africa for its support for India's bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

"I thank President Zuma for South Africa's support to India's membership in NSG. We count on active support of our friends like South Africa." Modi added.

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