India, South Africa in ‘alliance of trust’
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.
“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