Swaraj discusses bilateral ties with S African President

Johannesburg [South Africa]: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and discussed ways of strengthening bilateral ties between India and South Africa here on Sunday.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar took to his Twitter handle and posted a picture of the meeting between the two leaders.

“EAM @SushmaSwaraj called on President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. Leaders discussed ways to make further progress in areas of bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” he tweeted.

Swaraj, who is on a five-day visit to South Africa, reached Johannesburg on Sunday evening.

Upon her arrival, she met South African Deputy Foreign Minister Luwellyn Landers.

Kumar posted an image of the meeting on the micro-blogging site.

“Centuries old relationship! On her arrival in South Africa, EAM @SushmaSwaraj was heartily received by Deputy Foreign Minister Luwellyn Landers,” Kumar tweeted.

During the visit, Swaraj is expected to have meetings with the top leadership of South Africa, participate in the BRICS Foreign Ministers Meeting on June 4 and chair the IBSA Foreign Ministers Meeting, a statement issued by the MEA on.

BRICS is a grouping of five countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and IBSA is a tripartite grouping of India, Brazil, South Africa.

On June 6, Swaraj will visit the Phoenix Settlement, a South African Heritage site, a place where Mahatma Gandhi developed his philosophy of non-violence.

She would also participate in a series of events at Pietermaritzburg on June 6-7 to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the “historic incident in the train compartment that became a catalyst for Gandhiji’s Satyagraha movement.”

“The two-day commemoration activities will also include the release of joint commemorative stamps on Oliver Tambo and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhaya and a Youth Summit where 20 diaspora youth from Africa and five others from India will participate to speak on the relevance of Gandhiji’s message of peace to the youth of today,” the statement added.

This year marks the 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and South Africa.

It also marks the 125th anniversary of the Pietermaritzburg railway station incident and the 100th birth centenary of South African leader Nelson Mandela.

At the Pietermaritzburg railway station, Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off from a train on June 7, 1893, while travelling from Durban to Pretoria in the first compartment.

It is considered as his first civil disobedience act since Gandhi had refused to vacate his seat in the first class coach. Following non-compliance, the railway authorities threw him off the train at the station.

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