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PM leaves on four-day trip to S Africa

Besides commemorating Satyagraha, he will hold talks with President Mbeki.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2006 19:48 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday left for South Africa on a four-day trip, which will see him revive the emotional linkages between the two countries through participation in the centenary celebrations of the launch of Satyagraha by Mahatma Gandhi.

Singh will have talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki on a wide range of issues aimed at enhancing the level of bilateral relations. The discussions will particularly focus on strengthening the strategic relationship.

At least seven agreements, including in the field of railways, education and science and technology, are expected to be signed during the visit that will mark combination of work with revival of emotional bonds between India and South Africa.

A proposed Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the five-nation South African Customs Union (SACU) is under negotiation and may be signed if the discussions are completed.

During his stay in South Africa, Singh will attend celebrations to commemorate the 100th anniversary of launch of Satyagraha by Mahatma Gandhi in South Africa, a country where the pioneer of non-violence unveiled the new concept of resistance against colonialism and political oppression.

He will also participate in a public programme to mark the anniversary and address an inter-faith meeting along with Mbeki.

The celebrations will include a cultural element, involving performance by a noted artists from each country. From the Indian side, noted Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan will present a performance.

First Published: Sep 30, 2006 09:09 IST