Former South African President Nelson Mandela Monday thanked India for its immense influence on South Africa's struggle for freedom from the oppression of apartheid.
Mandela told visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the 137th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday that the influence was made in particular by Gandhi.
"So we'll respect them (Indian delegations) and honor them when they come," Mandela said.
He was bidding Singh farewell after a short meeting at Mandela House, home of the Mandela Foundation, in Houghton, Johannesburg.
India had influenced the struggle "a great deal", said Mandela, "I am happy I'm in a position again to say thank you."
Singh described Mandela as "the greatest Gandhian of them all" for transforming the lives of millions."I salute you on behalf of the people of India. We love you," he told Mandela.
Visiting Constitution Hill earlier on Monday, Singh said Gandhi would have been "elated" to see his aspirations of peace and reconciliation realized in the transformation of South Africa under Mandela's leadership.
In the eyes of the world, the mantle of Gandhi seemed to have " descended" on Mandela, Singh said.
Their meeting also coincided with the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's philosophy of Satyagraha, or passive resistance, in which followers resist injustice in non-violent ways to demonstrate their superior morality.
Singh on Monday lit a lamp at the entrance to an exhibition at Constitution Hill chronicling Gandhi's time in Johannesburg from 1902 to 1914.
Gandhi believed the physical suffering he endured would make him stronger and more determined in his moral cause. He was imprisoned in South Africa and India for 2,338 days.