SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY, H.E. DR. HORST KOHLER
New Delhi, 2nd February 2010
Your Excellency, Dr. Horst Kohler, President of the Federal Republic of Germany,
Madame Eva Luise Kohler,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a privilege to have you, Mr. President, in our midst today. I extend a very warm welcome to you and Madame Eva Luise Kohler and to the distinguished members of your delegation.
The ties between India and Germany are long standing. Some of India's finest accomplishments in art, literature and philosophy, were introduced to Europe and to the wider world, through the great German tradition of scholarship and pursuit of academic excellence. Indologists from your country have helped many, to discover and rediscover India. As far back as 1818, the University in Bonn set up the first Department of Indology, and who can forget the pioneering work of Fredrich Max Mueller in advancing the study of Indology? The Max Mueller Bhavans have become the cultural calling card and a very popular address for Germany in India.
Today, Indo-German relations are based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, diversity and respect for individual freedoms and the rule of law.
Since the establishment of our Strategic Partnership in 2001, the relationship between India and Germany has touched new heights. We, in India, see Germany amongst our most important interlocutors and as one of the pillars of the future multilateral order. We cooperate closely in the international fora and on important issues, like the reform and expansion of the United Nations Security Council. Our cooperation extends to focused groupings such as the G- 20. On issues such as the global economic crisis, international terrorism, poverty alleviation and food security among others, our political leaderships remain in touch.
We are happy at the pace and direction of our economic and commercial interactions. The global slowdown notwithstanding, we remain confident of achieving the target set during the visit of Chancellor Merkel in October 2007 to India, to raise bilateral trade to Euro 20 billion by 2012. Investments by our businesses and companies are growing in both directions. Our economic imperatives, centered on inclusive growth and sustainable development, require ambitious strategies for development of our country's infrastructure, in areas such as ports and shipping, railways and energy, and we see major opportunities for cooperation with Germany.
And going beyond, we seek to transform the parameters of our bilateral relationship in education, scientific and technological research and development and in innovation. I welcome the steps that are being taken in this area, particularly initiatives such as the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre that bring in industry partnerships for targeted research in technology and the applied sciences as well. We will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries in 2011. I am informed that preparations are afoot to mark this occasion with a "Year of Germany" in India and a "Year of India" in Germany in 2012.
Mr. President, we join you in celebrating this year, the 20th anniversary of German re-unification. This was a momentous achievement that caught the imagination of the world and transformed it. It threw away the shackles of an adversarial and conflict-ridden approach to international politics and opened new opportunities.
As we consider our world of tomorrow and seek a better world for our people and future generations, there is much that India and Germany can contribute together. With the quality of our human resources and the dynamism and aspirations of our youth, we will use our two nations' capacity for enterprise, innovation and research to foster a peaceful, progressive and secure world.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in raising a toast:-
- to the good health of His Excellency, President Dr. Horst Kohler and Madame Eva Luise Kohler;
- to the prosperity and well-being of the German people; and
- to friendship and cooperation between India and the Federal Republic of Germany.