India supportive to have South Africa join BRIC

Johannesburg: India remains very supportive of South Africa joining the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) group soon, reports PTI quoting Indian high commissioner Virendra Gupta at a function to mark the country's 64th Independence Day in Johannesburg.

"India of course remains extremely supportive of South Africa joining BRIC because India not only has its own relationship with South Africa but would also like to see opportunities for close collaboration with South Africa strengthened further", Mr Gupta said as he addressed South African politicians, academics, and business leaders.

Mr Gupta said India and South Africa had strong economics relationships, which was an important hallmark of any relationships in the present times, but that was not the only level of the relationship between the two countries.

"We build upon our historical legacies; our cultural connect; the presence of so many people of the Indian diaspora here, and as important developing countries, we have much to dialogue about; much to consult about and coordinate," the high commissioner said.

"The Indian government attaches a lot of priority to very close connections (with South Africa) both at bilateral level and at the regional multi-lateral level-in the Group of Twenty (G20) forum; in the India, Brazil and South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA) forum and we very much hope that South Africa will be able to join BRIC in the not too distant future," Mr Gupta said.
 

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Shipping ministry to award 25 port projects under PPP this fiscal

Mumbai: The shipping ministry will award 25 port projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme during the current financial year, reports PTI quoting a senior government official.

The ministry is also expecting investments from Singapore, Dubai and other Gulf countries, he said.

"We would award 25 PPP port projects in the current fiscal. The collective value of these contracts would be around Rs20,000 crore. So far, five projects have been awarded to the developers," shipping secretary, K Mohandas, told PTI here without divulging any financial details of the contracts.

Two of these projects at Paradip and Ennore near Chennai have already been awarded to Sterlite-Leighton and Eredene Capital consortium respectively.

These projects also include creation of mega container terminal or bulk transhipment at Chennai Port, New Mangalore Port and conversion of berth for container terminal at Tuticorin port.

These 25 PPP projects also include development and operation of two berths at Indira dock as dry bulk cargo terminal in Mumbai Port and development and operation of a dry commercial cargo at Mumbai Port.

According to Mr Mohandas, these projects are expected to enhance capacity at the centrally-regulated 12 ports by 46%.

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Commerce ministry against restricting iron ore exports

New Delhi: The commerce and industry ministry has said today that it is not in favour of restricting iron ore exports even as the ministry of steel and the Karnataka government want curbs on the mineral shipments, reports PTI.

"...If iron ore exports are restricted, it would effect economic activities in remote areas where handling of iron ore is the main employment generating activity," minister of state for commerce and industry Jyotiraditya Scindia informed the Lok Sabha.

Steel ministry and chief minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa are in favour of discouraging exports of iron ore to appropriate export duty in view of exploitation of mines and illegal mining.

Mr Scindia said iron ore production in the country has always been higher than the capacity of domestic steel industry to consume it.

India is mainly exporting iron ore fines, which are not used by domestic steel industry due to limited sintering and pelletisation capacity.

"There is a need to export excess ore (mainly fines) as it cannot be stored and would cause environmental degradation and hazards in mining areas, if not evacuated and exported," he said.

During 2008-09 iron ore fines constituted about 87% of the total iron ore exports.

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