Pas­sage to Ind ia

South African del­e­ga­tion to sup­port Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa at Repub­lic Day pa­rade

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD - TASCHICA PIL­LAY

A DEL­E­GA­TION of South Africans will be head­ing to In­dia in sup­port of Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa, who is to be the chief guest at In­dia’s 70th Repub­lic Day cel­e­bra­tions in Delhi on Jan­uary 26.

The group, made up of busi­ness peo­ple, politi­cians, com­mu­nity lead­ers and pro­fes­sion­als, will first par­tic­i­pate at the Pravasi Bharatiya Di­vas (PBD) in Varanasi in Ut­tar Pradesh.

The PBD is cel­e­brated once in two years to strengthen en­gage­ment of the overseas In­dian com­mu­nity with the In­dian gov­ern­ment and to re­con­nect them with their roots. Dur­ing the con­ven­tion, se­lected overseas In­di­ans are also hon­oured with the pres­ti­gious Pravasi Bharatiya Sam­man Award to recog­nise their con­tri­bu­tions to var­i­ous fields in In­dia and abroad.

The theme of the PBD Con­ven­tion 2019 is the “Role of In­dian Di­as­pora in build­ing New In­dia”.

A mem­ber of the del­e­ga­tion, Dasarath Chetty, said it was a huge hon­our that the South African pres­i­dent was the chief guest.

Par­lia­men­tar­ian, Omie Singh, who is also part of the group leav­ing this week, de­scribed it as a his­toric trip.

“We are proud that our pres­i­dent is the chief guest of the Repub­lic Day pa­rade, an im­por­tant event on the In­dian cal­en­dar. We are go­ing to wish In­dia on their 70th an­niver­sary and to of­fer the pres­i­dent our sup­port,” said Singh, adding that South Africa had a unique bond with In­dia.

The In­dian high com­mis­sioner to South Africa, Ruchira Kam­boj, said it was a very ex­cit­ing mo­ment for In­dia-south Africa bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

“We have the pres­i­dent of South Africa shortly vis­it­ing In­dia on a state visit. We are de­lighted and con­fi­dent that this would take In­dia-south Africa re­la­tions to the next level,” said Kam­boj.

She said 2018 was an out­stand­ing year for In­dia-south Africa re­la­tions – de­fence ties have re­sumed, South African com­pa­nies are in­vest­ing in In­dia, trade be­tween the two coun­tries in­creased by 13% over the pre­vi­ous year and In­dia launched the Gandhi Man­dela Skills In­sti­tute.

She added that they were de­lighted that a dozen SA jour­nal­ists would be in In­dia to cover the pa­rade and visit of the pres­i­dent.

This week, af­ter years of le­gal bat­tle, the High Court in Delhi per­mit­ted the in­stal­la­tion of a bust or statue of Nel­son Man­dela on the road named af­ter him in New Delhi.

The High Com­mis­sion of South Africa, through South African Con­sul in Chandi­garh, In­dia, had since 2013 been keen to high­light the In­dia-south Africa friend­ship, said ad­vo­cate Varun Khanna.

“The in­ten­tion of the High Com­mis­sion and Hon­orary Con­sul Padma Shri Vikramjit Singh Sah­ney was to un­veil the statue in 2013, then on the side­lines of an In­dia-africa Sum­mit in 2015, then the BRICS Sum­mit in 2016. The de­lays till 2015-2016 were on ac­count of the time taken to se­cure per­mis­sions as per the reg­u­lar pro­ce­dure,” said Khanna.

He said due to a per­ceived mis­un­der­stand­ing of an or­der passed by the Supreme Court of In­dia, the per­mis­sions could not be se­cured from all de­part­ments. The court or­der that was re­lied upon sought to tem­po­rar­ily re­strict the in­stal­la­tion of stat­ues, struc­tures in pub­lic roads, pave­ments and other places of pub­lic util­i­ties. This or­der was passed in the con­text of cer­tain doubts be­ing raised re­gard­ing whether the nec­es­sary per­mis­sions for con­struc­tion on pub­lic prop­erty were in com­pli­ance with the law.

Khanna said that on Sah­ney’s in­struc­tions they filed the nec­es­sary ap­pli­ca­tions be­fore the Supreme Court in or­der to ob­tain the clar­i­fi­ca­tion that the tem­po­rary re­stric­tions could not ap­ply to their case.

Af­ter se­nior ad­vo­cate Rupin­der Singh Suri high­lighted the fact that the ear­lier tem­po­rary re­stric­tion was wholly in­ap­pli­ca­ble and that sev­eral de­part­ments had al­ready ac­corded nec­es­sary per­mis­sions, the High Court of Delhi this week per­mit­ted the in­stal­la­tion, which was likely to hap­pen by Jan­uary 25.

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