JOHANNESBURG, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela became legends in their lifetimes and will be inspiration for generations to come, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu said at the inauguration of the first India-South Africa Business Summit.
Prabhu is leading a high level business delegation to Johannesburg to participate in the two-day summit from April 29-30.
"Both (Gandhi and Mandela) have been inspiring many people across the world. Can both these leaders' ideologies not be made into a lifestyle which people actually live out? Many of the problems that we face in the world today -- so much of the confrontation and tension -- can be resolved if we follow the philosophy of these two great leaders," Prabhu said at the summit yesterday.
He said it would be a real "great tribute" to the two leaders if "we follow their philosophies."
Noting that the years 2018 and 2019 are the birth centenary and 150th anniversary of Mandela and Gandhi respectively, Prabhu said: "Mandela was born 49 years after Gandhi. He always used to say that he was inspired by Gandhi, but Gandhi was born as a struggler (against oppression) in South Africa."
"Gandhi fought the freedom battle in India, but the inspiration for that he got in South Africa, so there was a lot of synergy between the two leaders," the minister said.
Prabhu also commended the attendance of many ministers from neighbouring countries at the summit.
"We want to talk to them and discuss with them how to make the world a much better place through business. We can address so many social challenges by introducing business ideas into the lifestyles of people," Prabhu said.
Yesterday, at the inaugural event, around 500 guests witnessed fusion dance performance by Tribhangi Dance Theatre; a performance by award-winning flautist Wouter Kellerman, and a fashion show featuring khadi apparels.
The summit, with the tag line 'United by Legacy, Unified for Prosperity', has been organised by the High Commission of India in Pretoria in partnership with the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the South African Department of Trade and Industry, Invest India, the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, the Confederation of Indian Industry, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Dr Rob Davies, South Africa's Minister of Trade and Industry, said at the launch that India was an important partner of South Africa, with immense potential to enhance two-way trade and investment to the benefit of the two countries and their people.
India's High Commissioner to South Africa and Lesotho, RuchiraKamboj, spoke of the unique bond between India and South Africa, pointing out that the summit would pave the way forward for a new growth story between the "two old friends".
The first day of the summit commenced with a meeting of the "India-South Africa CEOs Forum" wherein key issues concerning trade, investment and promotion of business were identified and discussed by CEOs of both countries.
The forum was led by co-chairs Adi Godrej, from the Indian side and Vivian Reddy on the South African side.
The forum concluded that there was an urgent need to deepen and widen the trade basket between the two countries, diversifying it away from gold.
More than 1,000 delegates from India and South Africa were set to discuss this at a series of workshops on different sectors today.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK