Zuma seeks to boost trade links with India

2010-06-03 08:32

President Jacob Zuma, in India on his first state visit to Asia

since taking office, was due to meet business leaders today in Mumbai in a bid

to boost trade ties.


Zuma, who arrived in India yesterday, was to jointly launch a

bilateral trade forum with that country’s commerce and industry minister Anand

Sharma and address captains of industry.


The 68-year-old president is accompanied by a 200-strong business

delegation as well as key ministers.


India’s trade with South Africa – one of Africa’s fastest-growing

economies – hit $7.5 billion in 2008-2009, the government in New Delhi

said.


“Trade statistics with India continue to reflect the potential that

still exists for expanding the commercial relationship,” Zuma’s office said in a

statement.


The two countries also have historic political and cultural

links.


In a speech yesterday, Zuma paid tribute to the positive

contribution of Indian immigrants to the development of South Africa since the

mid-19th century.


Zuma’s visit comes amid reports that Indian cellphone group

Reliance Communications is eyeing a possible merger with MTN.


The Economic Times newspaper said Reliance is looking to generate

equity to fund its move into the third-generation cellphone market, licences for

which were sold last week at a government auction.


Another possibility is Reliance accepting a bid for a strategic

stake from UAE-based Etisalat, the financial daily said, quoting an unnamed

source said to be familiar with the group’s plans.


Zuma is due in New Delhi tomorrow for talks with Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh and other leaders and will be guest of honour at a banquet hosted

by his Indian counterpart Prathibha Patil.


Besides trade, also on the agenda is reform of the United Nations

Security Council, plus closer cooperation on climate change and the global

economy, officials said.

 

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