• Saturday, July 13, 2024


SA’s Ramaphosa refers to Gandhi, Chandrayaan-3 as he reacts to Modi’s BRICS speech

While the iconic freedom fighter had lived decades in South Africa in the last 19th and early 20th centuries, India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission achieved success on August 23.

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi’s address at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in South Africa on Wednesday (23) was warmly received with Cyril Ramaphosa, president of the host nation, touching upon a number of India-related factors, ranging from the role Mahatma Gandhi had played in South Africa to exporting cheetahs to the success of Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, in his reaction.

“We would like to thank you as South Africa, particularly for reminding us of the journey that Mahatma Gandhi started here in South Africa and what he imparted to our forebears in South Africa on the modes of struggle,” Ramaphosa said.

Praising the iconic freedom fighter’s contributions during his days in South Africa in the late 19th and early 20th century, Ramaphosa said, “Gandhi was one who was strong on resistance. He taught us passive resistance which he perfected and we escalated to various acts of boycotts against the apartheid system. Through that, we were able to encourage citizen activism in organisations that were involved in our struggle, like the African National Congress and others.

“(It) mobilised our people against apartheid and finally defeated it, so Mahatma Gandhi played a very important role in the history of South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

Modi had referred in his address to the fact that the summit was taking place not far from where Gandhi had established Tolstoy Farm as a vibrant self-sufficient commune during his tenure as a lawyer in Johannesburg while he was in South Africa.

Ramaphosa also commented on the imminent landing on the moon of Chandrayaan 3 in reaction to Modi’s call for the BRICS countries to cooperate in space exploration.

“We would like to congratulate India, particularly as you speak about the need for cooperation in space. In a few hours, India’s spacecraft Chandrayaan 3 will be landing on the moon. We congratulate you.

“This for us as the BRICS family is a momentous occasion and we rejoice with you and join you in the joy of this great achievement. We also thank you for making the proposal that there should perhaps be a BRICS space cooperation system which is a very forward-looking proposal,” the South African leader said.

Responding to Modi’s plea that more should be done to preserve the big cats by all countries, Ramaphosa referred to the donation of cheetahs to India earlier this year to reintroduce the species there.

“We were pleased as South Africa to donate cheetahs to India and you informed me that the cheetahs arrived well and are alive in India and I told you that we are willing and prepared to donate even more because you are a country that takes care of big cats,” Ramaphosa told Modi.

“So, if you need more cheetahs, you have come to the home of cheetahs,” he added.

Modi also proposed a repository for traditional medicines used across BRICS nations.

“We have a very big community of people who are involved in traditional medicine here in South Africa, so we are willing to cooperate in it and I am sure the same obtains with all other members of BRICS. You will find great support from all of us to create a traditional medicines repository. Ramaphosa said that to continue healing all ailments, citizens should not just be dependent on western medicines, but also on their own traditional medicines.

(With PTI inputs)

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