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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to visit Tanzania and South Africa from March 28 to 31

Visit Aims at Strengthening India’s Presence in the African Continent

By TN Ashok    Diplomatic Editor

New Delhi, March 20 India’s External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj will pay a four day visit to the African continent visiting Tanzania and South Africa on March 28/29 (Tanzania) and March 29 to 31 (South Africa) as part of Modi government’s aggressive foreign policy initiatives to strengthen political and economic ties with countries with which India has had a long history of cordial relations.

Ms Swaraj will be the first external affairs minister from India to visit Tanzania since 2013. Our former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had visited Tanzania as the head of the UPA government in 2011.

India and Tanzania have a trade volume of US $ 4 billion weighing in favour of India with balance of trade tilted at US $ 2.5 billion and US $ 1.5 billion in favour of Tanzania. Over 50,000 people of Indian origin live and work in Tanzania. India constitutes a major part of the expatriate population of Tanzania.

Ms Swaraj;s visit to South Africa is aimed at expanding India’s economic ties with that country. India and South Africa enjoy a bilateral trade of US 11 billion weighted in favour of South Africa at US $ 6 billion and balance of trade with India being US $ 5 billion. India is seeking to increase its exports so that the balance of trade is reversed in favour of India.

South Africa is India’s largest trading partner in the African continent next only to Nigeria with which India has a fairly large trading volume.

India proposes to discuss global governance issues besides climate change matters with South Africa which is part of the IBSA group (India Brazil and South Africa) as compared to the BRICS where they share more general and varied international issues.