Cape Town: South Africa is sending a high-powered parliamentary delegation to India to strengthen relations between the two countries, it has been announced.
The delegation, led by the National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu and the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCP) Mninwa Mahlangu, will leave on a five-day visit to India, reported Xinhua.
"India's partnership with Africa extends beyond BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and includes other sub-groupings that also operate in the context of Africa. These include the India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA) and continental India-Africa summit processes," said a statement Friday jointly issued by the National Assembly and the NCP.
"The visit by Sisulu and Mahlangu, the first of its kind to India by our democratic parliament, is aimed at exchanging information and experiences about strengthening the role of parliaments and enhancing the working together of the two legislatures in multilateral bodies and bilateral relations between South Africa and India," the statement said.
Parliaments are increasingly required to strengthen particularly their oversight role, the statement said, adding that committees from both legislatures could serve as the vehicles to drive interaction between the two institutions on identified areas of cooperation and monitoring of agreements between our two governments.
The delegation would also be interested in sharing experiences about amending the national budget, and about training and development, said the statement.
The recent years have seen rapid development of bilateral cooperation between South Africa and India. In 2011, bilateral trade between the two countries stood at about 53 billion rand (about $6.5 billion).
The two countries have set a bilateral trade target of 111 billion rand (about
$13.5 billion) to be reached by 2014.
The two countries were also in the process of negotiating a preferential trade agreement, which will accelerate trade flows and extend the range of traded goods.