The long term prospects of the post-apartheid, bilateral relationship, between South Africa and India

This research report focuses on the post-Apartheid strategic partnership between South Africa and India. The partnership, which has been formally entrenched since 1997, was originally borne out of India’s commitment to the South African liberation movement during the Apartheid era. Despite South Africa’s transition to democracy, the countries’ partnership has continued to draw on its historical, emotional and political roots. This paper argues that, to date, the relationship has failed to develop a comprehensive economic foundation. Co-operation between India and South Africa also continues to be predominantly limited to mutually exclusive political support within leading international governmental organisations. This research report reaches this deduction by closely assessing the domestic and international realities that confront each respective partner, and how these realities in turn affect India and South Africa’s respective foreign policies. The substance of the partnership is explored from its theoretical, economic and political dimensions, with a particular emphasis on trade, investment, South-South co-operation and global institutional reform. It is through the analysis of these aspects of India and South Africa’s relationship that it is conclusively revealed that their partnership is almost entirely a political construct. It is argued in this research report, however, that although the relationship currently lacks any overt economic and foreign policy components, it does still hold significant potential for future growth.
M.A. University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Humanities, 2012