In­dia, South Africa in ‘al­liance of trust’

Post - - News - KRIS BISETTY AND NADIA KHAN

IN­DIA’S new High Com­mis­sioner in South Africa, Ruchira Kam­boj, is a trail­blazer who is look­ing for­ward to strength­en­ing ties.

No stranger to South Africa, Kam­boj served as con­sul­gen­eral in Cape Town a decade ago.

She was the first woman Chief of Pro­to­col for the gov­ern­ment of In­dia, serv­ing from 2011 to 2014, han­dling all VIP vis­its to In­dia and over­seas trips by the pres­i­dent, vice-pres­i­dent and prime min­is­ter.

Kam­boj was In­dia’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Unesco un­til July. She told POST that, as high com­mis­sioner, her pri­or­ity was to grow eco­nomic and com­mer­cial ties be­tween South Africa and In­dia.

They al­ready ben­e­fited from a 20-year strate­gic part­ner­ship.

“The good news is that the lead­er­ship be­tween the two coun­tries will meet reg­u­larly. Last year, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi vis­ited South Africa and Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma vis­ited In­dia.

“Var­i­ous mech­a­nisms have been put in place to strengthen the re­la­tion­ship,” she said.

“To­day the re­la­tion­ship is an al­liance of trust.”

Dur­ing Modi’s visit, the two coun­tries signed four bi­lat­eral agree­ments.

Kam­boj, who joined the In­dian For­eign Ser­vice in 1987 and nine years later was ap­pointed first sec­re­tary at In­dia’s High Com­mis­sion in Mau­ri­tius, said In­dia and South Africa were rich in di­ver­sity and very sim­i­lar.

“We share the char­ac­ter­is­tics of be­ing mul­ti­cul­tural and mul­ti­lin­gual.

“Given the sim­i­lar­i­ties, it is log­i­cal to say that when strong part­ners work to­gether, it is for the greater good of the world.”

Asked how the av­er­age woman in In­dia fared in a still largely pa­tri­ar­chal so­ci­ety, Kam­boj said there had been many changes over the years.

Hard work

“You will find that many of the cabi­net min­is­ters are women. Many women hold top po­si­tions – doc­tors, lawyers and teach­ers, for in­stance.

“Women are do­ing very well for them­selves.”

Of the fact that In­di­ans world­wide were known for their en­trepreneur­ship, aca­demic ex­cel­lence and suc­cess, Kam­boj said: “I be­lieve this is sim­ply in their DNA. In­di­ans are known to be hard work­ers.

“They also have solid fam­ily val­ues, which con­trib­ute to their suc­cess. In­di­ans con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try in which they live, but al­ways have roots in their moth­er­land.”

Her ad­vice to South Africans and In­dian na­tion­als liv­ing here about how to over­come hurdles and progress in life?

“I al­ways say there is only one for­mula for suc­cess in life: good, hon­est hard work.”

The mar­ried mother of one daugh­ter, who en­joys read­ing “and a bit of writ­ing”, will be hosted by Con­sul-Gen­eral in Dur­ban Shashank Vikram at a High Tea at his res­i­dence, In­dia House, on Fri­day.

In­dian High Com­mis­sioner in South Africa Ruchira Kam­boj

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