India is committed to further expand and diversify its trade with Africa, to which South Africa was a gateway, Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma said in Johannesburg on Friday.
Addressing the India Business Forum (IBF), an umbrella organisation of Indian business representatives in South Africa, Sharma highlighted the need for Indian businesses to continue their proactive engagement in South Africa with its emphasis on ethical factors as well as job creation and skills development for the local economy.
Sharma said these were the elements which distinguished Indian investment from other foreign investors.
Sharma, who is the first Indian minister to visit South African shores since the general elections in both countries earlier this year, is here at the invitation of his South African counterpart, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies.
Starting off a full four-day programme, Sharma also met Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in Pretoria on Friday. Discussions with Motlanthe covered key aspects of bilateral relations and steps being taken to consolidate and diversify the strategic and economic partnership between the two countries.
On the issue of cooperation at the multilateral level, Sharma briefed the deputy president on a ministerial meeting on WTO to be held in New Delhi from September 3-4 to make progress on the Doha Round of talks.
Sharma is expected to call on President Jacob Zuma and also hold bilateral meetings with Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane as well as Davies.
On Monday both Sharma and Davies will address a meeting of CEOs of both countries before the Indian minister concludes his visit Monday evening as the keynote speaker at the Gordon Institute of Business Science here on India's economic engagement with Africa.