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Manmohan, Zuma dabble in football diplomacy

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Friday, found time for a bit of soccer diplomacy, wishing South Africa a “grand success” as it gears up to host the FIFA World Cup, the country's biggest sporting event.

sports Updated: Jun 04, 2010 17:30 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on Friday, found time for a bit of soccer diplomacy, wishing South Africa a “grand success” as it gears up to host the FIFA World Cup, the country's biggest sporting event.

At a joint press meet with South African President Jacob Zuma, Manmohan Singh said: "In a week from now, South Africa will host the football World Cup. On behalf of the people of India, I have conveyed our best wishes to President Zuma for its grand success."

Zuma thanked India for its support. He congratulated India on hosting the Commonwealth Games later this year and wished it success.

"India is behind us,” Zuma said while thanking him for his support as South Africa becomes the African continent's first country to host the World Cup.

Describing his maiden three-day presidential visit to India as a “success”, Zuma highlighted the historic and unique relations between the two countries dating back to the struggle against apartheid.

"We have been together through difficult times as well as happy times,” Zuma said after the two countries signed three agreements, including pacts on agricultural cooperation and enhancing air connectivity.