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Your Excellency, President Ramaphosa,
Distinguished guests who came here from South Africa,

Friends,

It is a matter of great pleasure for us that President Ramaphosa, an integral friend of India, is present among us today. India is not new to him, but it is his first visit to India as the President. And his visit to India is happening during a special moment in our relations. This is the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhiji. Last year was the birth centenary year of Nelson Mandela. And last year was also the silver jubilee year of our diplomatic relations. I am very happy that President Ramaphosa has come to India on this special occasion. And his visit to India is of special significance to us, because tomorrow he will participate in our Republic Day celebrations as the Chief Guest. India is grateful for all this respect and pride they are giving us. Whole India is grateful to him for allowing us this distinction.

Friends,

I first met President Ramaphosa when I went to South Africa in 2016. At that time, he was the Vice-President. And in our first meeting itself I had experienced his enthusiasm and affection towards India. I experienced his excellent hospitality during the BRICS Summit in South Africa last year. Though it is winter season in Delhi, but I believe that in this journey President Ramaphosa will also feel the warmth of India’s welcome. I warmly welcome the President, and his delegation, in India.

Friends,

During our interactions today with the President, we reviewed all the dimensions of our relations. Our trade and investment relations are becoming more and more intense. Our bilateral trade is more than $10 billion. South Africa participated as the Partner Country in the "Vibrant Gujarat" summit held this year. And Indian companies are taking active part in the efforts of President Ramaphosa to increase investment in South Africa. We are also partners in South Africa's skill development efforts. The Gandhi-Mandela Skills Institute is set to be established soon in Pretoria. And we both are committed to take these relationships to a new level. And therefore, we will meet major business leaders of both the countries in a short while from now.

Friends,

If we look at the map of the world, it is clear that both India and South Africa are located at very important places in the Indian Ocean. We both are democratic countries filled with diversities. We are the successors to the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. And therefore, the broad global outlook of both the countries is quite similar to each other. Our mutual cooperation and coordination on many forums like BRICS, G-20, Indian Ocean Rim Association, IBSA, is very strong. We are also working together on the reforms of the UN Security Council. A special part of the program of this visit of the President to India will be the first "Gandhi-Mandela Freedom Lecture" which is being organized today. Not only me, whole India and whole South Africa is eager to listen to the thoughts of the Hon’ble President.

Friends,

Presence of President Ramaphosa on the Republic Day and participation as the Chief Guest, is a symbol of our shared commitment to strengthen our relations. I, once again, warmly welcome the President.

Thank you.

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Social Media Corner 21 May 2019
May 21, 2019
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