United Nations: Calling it the "century of Asia and Africa", India has vowed to walk together with South Africa on a journey of shared principles into a better future for the entire world.
"This is the century of Asia and Africa," said External Affairs Minister SM Krishna at a symposium here Thursday on South Africa`s contribution to the fight against racism and xenophobia.
"The new dawn that the freedom fighters of India and the African National Congress dreamed about is upon us. We walked together in the walk to freedom; we now continue this journey into a better future for our two nations and for the entire world," he said.
"We in India fully share the joy of our South African brothers and sisters in celebrating their great victory over racism and colonialism," Krishna said, drawing parallels between India`s freedom struggle and South Africa`s overthrow of the apartheid state.
"We in India are proud of the success of South Africa`s democratic transition and its emergence as a leading nation in the world. Indeed, a very special bond unites our two nations," said Krishna, noting that Mahatma Gandhi forged his tool of `ahimsa` or non-violence in South Africa.
"The Indian freedom struggle overthrew the mightiest empire of its time and did so peacefully. This would not have been possible without the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, leading us in Satyagraha," he said.
"South Africa is the cradle of satyagraha," said Krishna noting, "It is there that Mahatma Gandhi first practiced ahimsa when confronted by the politics of evil. It is South Africa that turned Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a young lawyer, into the Mahatma."
Noting the contribution of Indians "who made South Africa their home in this great struggle", he said: "It is a matter of pride for us that we have converted this rich legacy into a thriving bilateral relationship."
"We are natural partners and our partnership extends beyond the bilateral," said Krishna. "Our common aspirations and common values unite us in the UN Security Council, in G-20, in the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) forum, and in BRICS (Brazil, India, Russia, China, South Africa)."