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Attacks on Indians in South Africa Violence


Protests in South Africa began after the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma and amid escalating civil unrest in the country the Indian government raised concerns about attacks on people of Indian origin in South Africa.


GS-II: International Relations (Foreign Politics and Political Developments affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About recent violence in South Africa
  2. India–South Africa relations

About recent violence in South Africa

  • The unrest in South Africa, set off after the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma, has not escalated to high levels so much that the South African police and the military have resorted to firing stun grenades and rubber bullets to contain the situation.
  • The former President of South Africa is serving a sentence for contempt of court, after failing to appear for a corruption inquiry.
  • Since 2020, with the lockdown and restrictions on businesses, South Africa’s economy has struggled to make a recovery – unemployment stood at a record high of 32.6 per cent in the first three months of 2021 and a survey found that nearly a sixth of the population in South Africa were hungry. 
  • India’s External Affairs Minister spoke to his South African counterpart regarding reports of arson and looting against Indians and Indian-origin South Africans.

India–South Africa relations


  • India-South Africa relations have grown strong since the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994 with links between India and South Africa dating back to the period during which Mahatma Gandhi started his Satyagraha movement in South Africa for the cause of freedom and justice in South Africa over a century ago.
  • Mahatma Gandhi had commenced his political-legal career in South Africa, experimenting with civil disobedience in the 1890s and 1900s, to improve the quality of living of the Indians living there.
  • The Indian government was an outspoken critic of the apartheid-era South African government, refusing to maintain diplomatic relations.
  • Both countries established diplomatic relations after the end of apartheid in 1994. After South Africa achieved democracy in 1994, it was the Red Fort Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and South Africa, signed in March 1997 which set the parameters for a rekindled relationship.
  • The major part of the Indian origin community came to South Africa from 1860 onwards as farm labour to serve as field hands and mill operatives in the sugar and other agricultural plantations.

Recent developments

  • The Strategic Partnership between the two countries was again reaffirmed in the Tshwane Declaration (October 2006).
  • India is South Africa’s fifth-largest export destination, and fourth-largest import origin and is the second-largest trading partner in Asia.
  • In 2016 both the countries agreed to collaborate in the defence sector, especially in terms of the opportunities available for South African private sector under ‘Make in India’ initiative, energy sector, agro-processing, human resource development, and infrastructure development.
  • India and South Africa also share an extensive energy partnership in 2010, India imported 1.4 million tonnes of South African coal – making it the largest purchaser of coal from the country.
  • Ties with further solidified with South Africa’s 2011 acceptance into the BRICS group.

Click Here to read about Africa (Continent)–India relations

-Source: Indian Express

February 2024