South African President, Jacob Zuma, will make his first visit to India from June 2 to 5.
The African National Congress leader along with seven cabinet ministers and a large business delegation will land in Mumbai and then proceed to New Delhi on June 4. Apart from diplomatic ties, key areas of interest for the delegation include auto industry, energy and infrastructure, pharma and tourism.
“Both countries enjoy strong historical ties, which have translated into firm political commitment. We hope to strategise the synergies further,” said Busisiwe Faith Kuzwayo, South African counsel general in Mumbai.
Bollywood is a prime concern too as a slew of films shot on South African locations (such as the Saif Ali Khan-starrer Race) have not only brought in business but also showcased the country as a holiday destination.
In Mumbai, Zuma (68) and his wife Nompumelelo Ntuli Zuma (35) will stay at the Taj Mahal hotel, which opened a hotel in Cape Town earlier this year.
Not only is India South Africa’s third largest trading partner, Indian companies are also involved in key projects such as power plants (Essar Group), Information Technology (SoftPro), business process out-processing (Aegis) and automotive (Tata).
Already 2,500 Indians have bought packages for the soccer World Cup, which begins on June 11 in South Africa. “This will be the President’s last international visit before the World Cup. We are sharing our humanity. We are ready,” added Kuzawayo.