NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria Monday before attending the opening session of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) Ministers for Foreign Affairs’ meeting.
Swaraj underlined that the meeting was taking place at a time “when multilateralism, international trade and rules based world order face strong headwinds” and called for joint action on money-laundering, terror financing and de-radicalisation.
“Though the global growth has exhibited signs of recovery, the challenges to long-term growth continue to persist. Ensuring that the benefits of globalisation are shared widely remains a challenge,” she said.
Speaking of a joint war against terrorism, She said “PM (Narendra) Modi had given a call for a BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy for joint action, with focus on money laundering, terrorist finance, cyberspace and de-radicalisation as our priorities at the last BRICS summit” in China.
Swaraj landed in South Africa on Sunday evening after a brief stopover at Mauritius where she met PM Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and her counterpart Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo.
Apart from attending the BRICS meet, Swaraj will meet top leadership of South Africa and chair the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Foreign Ministers Meeting during her five-day visit. Later, she will visit the Phoenix Settlement, now a heritage site, which served as Mahatma Gandhi’s home during his stay in South Africa. She will also take part in a series of events on June 6-7 at Pietermaritzburg to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the day Gandhi was thrown out of a first class train compartment—which became the catalyst for his Satyagraha.
Swaraj will also jointly release commemorative stamps on anti-apartheid activist Oliver Tambo and Jan Sangh leader and politician Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay, and attend a Youth Summit on the relevance of Gandhi’s message of peace to the youth of today. 2018 also marks 25 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations with South Africa, and the 100th Birth Centenary of Nelson Mandela.