India and South Africa enjoy a very close and cordial relationship and BRICS provide them with yet another opportunity for creating more networks, a top Indian diplomat has said.

 "Apart from the fact that we enjoy a very close and cordial relationship, we have a great deal of convergence at the political level on various multilateral fora," Indian High Commissioner Virendra Gupta told delegates at the BRICS Africa Export Import Forum here.

Gupta said the two countries have a very dynamic and vibrant economic relationship and India seeks to build upon historic ties that our two countries have.

"Apart from the fact that we enjoy a very close and cordial relationship, we have a great deal of convergence at the political level on various multilateral fora.

He said India looked upon South Africa's entry into BRICS as providing it with yet another opportunity for creating more networks between the two countries.

BRICS is the title of an association of leading emerging economies. The group's five members are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"India's relation with South Africa is not merely because of BRICS though," Gupta emphasised.

"Our special relationship with South Africa predates the South African entry into BRICS and was one of the reasons why India was very, very supportive when South Africa made the initial approach to India to support South Africa's entry.

"Despite recessionary pressures all over the world, we managed very high growth last year in term of our bilateral goods, services and investments."

Gupta made a plea for small and medium enterprises to get more involved in multilateral business.

"The current structure of engagement between India and South Africa is heavily dominated by large corporates, such as Sasol, First Rand Bank, Old Mutual and ACSA in India and the State Bank of India, Tata and Mahindra in South Africa," Gupta said.

"They obviously contribute the bulk of trade between the two countries, but I would like this relationship to be more diversified through the involvement of small and medium enterprises. We would see a quantum improvement, especially at this time when South Africa's need is to create jobs. "

At the same meet, the Chairman of the India Business Forum, which represents about 50 Indian companies invested in South Africa, outlined the wide range of incentives that India provides to promote investment there, including the ease of starting up companies there; repatriation of profits and the development of special zones.

"South African companies are very good at infrastructure development, so this is an area where India presents big opportunity," he said.

 Source : business-standard.com