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Prime Minister’s statement to the media after the 5th IBSA Summit

October 18, 2011

Your Excellency President Jacob Zuma
Your Excellency President Dilma Rousseff
Honourable Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media,

At the outset I would like to convey my profound gratitude to President Jacob Zuma, the Government and the people of South Africa for the warmth and cordiality with which we have been received here in Pretoria.

It is always a pleasure and privilege to visit this beautiful country. This is a country with which India and the people of India have very deep rooted links – links that have changed the course of India's history. The people of India owe a deep debt of gratitude to South Africa for giving us the Mahatma.

India joins the people of South Africa as they prepare to mark the centenary celebrations of the African National Congress next year. We cherish our historical and deep emotional links with the ANC. The elimination of apartheid was one of the most seminal events of the 20th century.

We have just concluded a very fruitful exchange of views on a wide range of issues of interest to all the three countries. We have heard the results of the meetings of the Working Groups and Forums who met before our Summit. We have discussed ways and means to further consolidate our cooperation and collaboration under the IBSA Dialogue Forum.

I have had the privilege of attending all the IBSA Summits. I am, therefore, witness to the flowering of this unique organisation and this is a matter of great satisfaction for me. We have defied the skeptics and shown how three like minded countries can pool their resources and genius to help each other and others.

IBSA countries are already members of groupings such as BRICS, BASIC and the G-20. We have a tradition of collaborating on global economic issues and challenges such as international economic and financial crisis, climate change, energy security and food security.

This Summit is special because it has taken place in a year when all three of us are members of the United Nations Security Council. We have acted in concert on the global stage, dealing with complex regional and international political and security issues, including recently in West Asia. This suggests that IBSA can play a role in promoting the cause of international peace and security.

The IBSA framework is unique because the interaction under IBSA transcends the realm of government-to-government activity to encompass dialogue among civil society and people-to-people exchanges.

Its cooperative framework in the form of 16 Working Groups and 6 people-to-people fora brings together our officials, technical experts, business representatives, intellectuals and academicians. These have helped to expand our cooperation considerably. The IBSA Trust Fund is another unique feature of our outreach activities, which we have agreed to promote further.

There is, however, vast potential to increase and expand our cooperation. Intra-IBSA trade is now close to 20 billion US dollars. I am therefore confident that we will be able to cross the target of 25 billion US dollars by 2015. We need to do much more to address the present deficit of intra-IBSA linkages in terms of people's travel, transport facilities and other related infrastructure.

As three developing democracies, we share very similar aspirations. We seek the empowerment of our people and betterment of their lives through inclusive socio-economic development. Our cooperation so far indicates that we are on the right path.

India looks forward to working closely with its IBSA partners in our collective endeavours to further deepen our cooperation.

I have offered that we will be happy to host the next IBSA Summit in India in 2013.

I thank you.

October 18, 2011

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