Home > India South Africa Relations

Historical Background

1. India’s links with the struggle for freedom and justice in South Africa date back to the period during which Mahatma Gandhi started his Satyagraha movement in South Africa over a century ago. India was at the forefront of the international community in its support to the antiapartheid movement; it was the first country to sever trade relations with the apartheid Government (in 1946) and subsequently imposed a complete -- diplomatic, commercial, cultural and sports -- embargo on South Africa. India worked consistently to put the issue of apartheid on the agenda of the UN, NAM and other multilateral organizations and for the imposition of comprehensive international sanctions against South Africa. The ANC maintained a representative office in New Delhi from the 1960s onwards.

2. Following talks between the then South African Government and the ANC, India’s relations with South Africa were restored after a gap of over four decades with the opening of a Cultural Centre in Johannesburg in May 1993. Formal diplomatic and consular relations with South Africa were restored in November 1993 during the visit to India of the then South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha. A Consulate General was thereafter established in Johannesburg. The Indian High Commission in Pretoria was opened in May 1994, followed by the opening of the Consulate General in Durban the same month. Since Parliament in South Africa meets in Cape Town, a permanent office of the High Commission was opened there in 1996. In addition to its High Commission in Delhi, South Africa has a Consulate General in Mumbai.

Political Relations
Development of political relations since 1994

3. Against the background of India’s consistent support to the anti-apartheid struggle, there has been a steady consolidation of our close and friendly ties with South Africa, both bilaterally and through the trilateral IBSA Dialogue Forum. A number of bilateral agreements have been concluded between the two countries since the assumption of diplomatic relations in 1993 in diverse areas ranging from economic and commercial cooperation, defence, culture, heath, human settlements, public administration, science and technology and education.

Recent High Level Visits

4. President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma, accompanied by Mrs Nompumelelo Ntuli-Zuma, paid a State Visit to India from 02 to 05 June 2010. President Zuma’s delegation included 7 Cabinet Ministers [Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation, Defence, Public Enterprises, Trade & Industry, Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Transport, and Communications]. Three MOUs/Agreements were signed during the visit: (i) MOU on 2 Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors, (ii) Air Services Agreement and (iii) MoU on cooperation between the Foreign Service Institute of India and the Diplomatic Academy of South Africa. A 200-member strong business delegation as well as senior officials accompanied President Zuma on his visit. President Zuma met President, Vice President and Prime Minister; MOS for External Affairs as well as Chairperson of UPA and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha called on him. Discussions reflected the fraternal warmth and affection as well as the strategic partnership that characterize bilateral relations. President Zuma and his delegation also met Indian business leaders in Mumbai on June 2, 2010. A Joint Declaration containing key understandings reached during the meetings was issued during the visit.

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