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South Africa-India Relations

South Africa-India Relations

“South Africa and India” have some common similarities. Both had the effects of the devastating 2004 tsunami due to their locations along the Indian Ocean. Both of them are regional powers and have influence in their various regions. South Africa and India had long time British colonial occupations and experiences which makes them to be members of Commonwealth of Nations.” Currently, South Africa and India are now members of different economic blocs: BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and IBSA (India, Britain and South Africa), these blocs have solidified and contributed immensely to the economic well-being of South Africa and India.

Historically, South Africa-India relations can be traced back to many centuries. As at the period when India was then a British colony a large portion of Indian origin arrived in South Africa from 1860 onwards to serve as sugar plantation farm labourers and Mill operatives of Natal. The Indian migrants that got to South Africa came from the Indian cities of Eastern Upper Pradesh and Bihar while the second batch of Indians that came to South Africa in 1800 are termed as the “community of traders” who mainly hailed from Gujarat. These Indians from Gujarat paid transport fares as passengers on board a steamship bound for South Africa which made them to be known as “Passenger Indians”. 1.5 million of South African population is made up South African-Indian origin communities constituting about 3 percent of which 80 percent of the Indians resides in Kwa-Zulu Natal province. Gauteng city formerly known as Transvaal have 15 percent Indians and in Cape Town 5 percent. Indian origins in South Africa occupied a very sensitive positions and well-represented in business, media, government and law professions. Indian population in South Africa is large and they have contributed immensely to the socio-economic developments of South Africa.

On the 9thJanuary, 1915, is the commemoration of the annual Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) of Gandhiji arrival in India from South Africa marked one hundred years of Gandhiji’s final departure from South Africa to India and the 150th anniversary was commemorated in 2010 as the first arrival of Indians in South Africa. “Relations” can be referred to as the way in which two or more people or things are connected; a thing’s effect on relevance to another.

South Africa had benefitted fiscal support through India’s provision of funds to the “Africa Fund” to help sustain anti-Apartheid struggle through the frontline states. India was the first country globally to cut-off diplomatic, economic and socio-cultural ties with South Africa due to extant of Apartheid Regime in 1946. India also tabled the Apartheid issue that had been emitting-out inhuman treatments in South Africa (SA) on the global stage via the United Nations (UN), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and other global institutions to exert comprehensive sanctions and embargoes against the Apartheid South Africa. The African National Congress (ANC) established a representative office in the capital of India, New Dehli in 1960s because of the supportive relations between the two countries. In May, 1993 South Africa-India Relations was restored after forty years gap in communication and India established a cultural centre in Johannesburg. While the Indian High Commission was opened in Pretoria, South Africa in May, 1994; the India Consulate General was opened in Durban that same month. The parliamentary headquarters of South Africa sits in Cape Town with a permanent office of the India Commission which had been established there in 1996 was re-designed as India Consulate General taking effect from 11th January, 2011 and at last South Africa’s High Commission was opened in Bombay, in India.

Finally, the relations between these countries grows day by day as it is evident in the modern economic blocs such as BRICS and IBSA where they annually meets to exchange ideologies to the betterment of their economies. From time, the relations between them have been beneficial as India played a role to stop Apartheid Policy in South Africa and again they both opened Commissions in Bombay and Pretoria.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Opuene Kingsley Inowei

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