Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said South Africa had “transformed Mohandas [Gandhi] into Mahatma”, while addressing a gather of Indian expatriates in Johannesburg during his visit to the African nation. He also said that India is working to achieve 8% growth. Modi’s trip is part of his four-nation tour of the continent. Modi also met South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and sought to promote India’s defence manufacturing sector, as well as build partnerships on mining and minerals, PTI reported.

Modi brought up India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group membership bid and thanked Zuma for South Africa’s support. He said, “We know that we can count on the active support of our friends, like South Africa.” He mentioned that past relations between the two countries had been strong and that he looked forward to them cooperating in matters of international importance, especially terrorism.

Modi had earlier visited Mozambique, where he signed several pacts on the import of pulses such as arhar and tur. The pulses deals are expected to boost India’s supply of the kitchen staples, which have become dearer in the past few months, causing widespread distress and discontent. He will visit Tanzania and Kenya next.