India and South Africa have agreed to conduct joint naval exercises after meeting at the recent BRICS summit.
India and South Africa today decided to hold joint Naval exercises and fixed a new trade target of $15 billion to be achieved by next year as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Jacob Zuma met here and discussed ways to boost overall ties.
During the 45-minute meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit, Zuma also informed Singh about his government’s intention to invite President Pratibha Patil and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to his country.
The two leaders discussed a number of issues including bilateral defence and economic ties, UN reforms and developments in Libya and Ivory Coast, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the external affairs ministry Manbir Singh told reporters here.
Talking about the defence ties, the two leaders felt that these could be further strengthened, Manbir Singh said.
In this context, it was decided that the two countries would hold Naval exercises, the second such joint manoeuvres.
The Indian Ocean is becoming a more important priority given China’s fast naval military buildup and presence in Africa. This is one way India can stay active in the region and buildup partnerships on the continent, especially with coastal states such as South Africa.
Here is a report about the South African navy’s visit to India back in 2008.