External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India is no longer "lumbering around at a relatively slow pace" at the end of his three-day visit to South Africa for a BRICS conclave.
Speaking at a reception facilitated by the neighborhood diaspora and expatriate community in Cape Town in his honor Saturday night, he likewise talked about the unique connection between India and South Africa, which would celebrate 30 years of new diplomatic ties.
The minister was in the city with his partners from Brazil, Russia, China for the BRICS alliance meeting facilitated by South Africa.
"This is no longer the India that was lumbering around at a relatively slow pace. When it comes to digital, I can assert with a great deal of confidence, that I see practices (and) efficiencies in India which I don't see even if I go to Europe and North America," Jaishankar said.
"This scale of change which is taking place in India, when we speak about the pace of transformation of these nine years, is really something that I think the Indian community abroad, the non-residents abroad and I would say even the friends and well-wishers of India abroad need to understand is something very powerful and very big that is going on," he said.
Jaishankar stated that this was not a protectionist effort, highlighting the Modi government's nine years of policy reforms and actions to increase the self-sufficiency of the Indian people.
"A self-reliant India is not a protectionist India that is closing itself to the world. It is an India that is actually making more in India but making more for the world and making more with the world.
"We are today actively trying to forge partnerships. One of the indices of success has been the growing amount of foreign direct investments we have attracted," the minister said.
He stated that India's FDI was the largest in the world, totaling USD 86 billion in 2017.
"The overall picture is one of great confidence at home – one of very significant achievements; but also, one where there is a great deal of ambition," he said.
Jaishankar made a comment about India's vision for the next 25 years and said it was important to show the current generation that they can do much bigger things on a much bigger scale.
"It is also the rise of a civilization state which will make its impact and which will also inspire others in different parts of the world to do something similar," he said.
Jaishankar also talked about the special relationship between India and South Africa, which would be celebrating 30 years of new diplomatic relations after being apartheid-free for almost four decades.
"As we became independent and continued to support South Africa in its struggle against apartheid, the symbolism of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi took very deep root," he said.
"There was a particular association that we had with Nelson Mandela as an inspirational figure and also as the leader of a people who were struggling to control their own future and to establish their own identity," he said, adding the relations in these three decades "have flowered in every conceivable sense".
He said the two nations today have an exchange rate of about USD 18 billion.
The minister also emphasised their cooperation in a variety of areas, including cricket, cheetah reintroduction in India, international issues at various forums, and Covid vaccines.
"When I look around the world at close to about 200 countries, and say who are our closest friends, I think this country very naturally comes to mind and that is something that is reflected in a lot of what we see."
Remarking on the vision for the India-South Africa relationship past the 30 years that it will celebrate in November, Jaishankar said India focused on a universe of more noteworthy versatility and more noteworthy information trade.