JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA: India and South Africa have signed three agreements on the sidelines of the 10th annual BRICS Summit that is taking place in Johannesburg. The agreements cover cooperation in space exploration, agriculture and artisanal skill development.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. The two leaders held their first bilateral meet on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit.
The agreements signed by the two countries on Thursday include a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) to promote cooperation between the two agencies in space exploration and a commitment to continue using space for peaceful purposes.
The two governments also resolved to set up a 'Gandhi Mandela Centre of Specialisation for Artisan Skills'. The third MoU was signed between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)and the Pretoria-based Agricultural Research Council to improve cooperation in agricultural research and education.
PM Modi;s attendance at the annual BRICS summit in Johannesburg is his last stop on his tour of Africa, which has seen him visit Rwanda and Uganda. He became the first ever Indian PM to address the Ugandan Parliament.
PM Modi's Africa trip has also coincided with a similar itinerary of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Observers have commented on the overlap of the trips of Modi and Xi, interpreting it as rising competition between the two Asian giants for influence and control in Africa. However, both New Delhi and Beijing have explicitly made statements denying competition between the two countries and stressing that Africa offers great scope for the two countries to work together, and not against each other.