South African President Jacob Zuma says the official visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi enables the two countries to build on their existing trade, investment and commercial relations.

Addressing the media at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday, Zuma said South Africa is looking to increase and diversify its exports to India.

"We have identified new areas for market access including the defence, deep mining, renewable energy and health sectors.

"Future sectors identified for possible cooperation include agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, mining, water and waste management, retail, financing and infrastructure development," said Zuma.

He said South Africa also regards highly its cooperation with India in the field of skills development.

"A number of our youth study in India. We are keen to explore further opportunities for training opportunities in India as part of youth empowerment and development.

"We have agreed to expand and improve people-to-people contact through promoting tourism between the two countries," he said.

India and South Africa, Zuma said, play an instrumental role in shaping the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) into a vibrant organisation.

"We have identified the ocean economy as a major driver for sustainable economic growth and employment generation under South Africa's Operation Phakisa: Ocean Economy initiative," he said.

South Africa estimates that its oceans will contribute more than R20 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2019. This is expected to increase to R177 billion by 2033, with just over one million jobs created.

Prime Minister Modi said India and South Africa have through centuries nurtured strong people-to-people ties.

"We stood together in our common fight against racial segregation and colonialism," he said, paying homage to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Ghandi.

"It was in South Africa that Mahatma Ghandi found his true calling. He belongs as much to India as much to South Africa," said Modi.

The Prime Minister said in their joint discussions with Zuma, they reviewed the full spectrum of their engagement. He said Indian companies hold strong business interest in South Africa.

He said India has interest to enhance investment in mining and minerals and pharmaceuticals, among other sectors, in South Africa.

"India is also ready to share its experiences and capacities for development of small and medium businesses in South Africa," said Modi.

He said the two countries can also partner in the field of defence and security.