SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES, H.E. MR. JAMES ALIX MICHEL
New Delhi, 2nd June 2010
Your Excellency, Mr. James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me immense pleasure to welcome you and your delegation to India. We are delighted by the visit of a valued friend of India. We fondly remember Your Excellency's State Visit in August 2005. We also fondly remember your earlier visits to India as Vice-President of Seychelles in 1999 as well as a Minister in 1994 and in 1987. I wish you and the distinguished members of your delegation a very pleasant stay in India.
Your Excellency, you lead a country with strong democratic and cultural traditions. We, in India, have great admiration for the economic reforms you have successfully carried out in Seychelles, as also for the immense courage and conviction you have shown in tackling the problem of piracy, which affects us all and requires international co-operation.
The safety and security of the Indian Ocean is a shared objective of our two countries. In fact, the waters of the Indian Ocean have helped in connecting our two nations and brought us together since ancient times. The bonds between us are rich and infused with history. The links between us extend to every aspect of human life, be it social, economic, cultural, intellectual or political. Since your last State visit to India in 2005, we have moved forward a long way in our bilateral cooperation and engagement. We meet today as two vibrant democracies that share common values and common goals; and when our bilateral relations have reached a new dimension. India stands ready to be a full and equal partner in the realisation of your vision of economic development of Seychelles and in contributing to your security, especially in the face of piracy.
The enhancement of human capital is essential for progress. We have sought to contribute to the efforts of our partner countries in this direction. Thus, we have been assisting Seychelles in capacity building through scholarships for studies in Indian universities, and by providing training to your civilian and defence officers. We will continue to enhance our cooperation in this area.
We have opened a new chapter to diversify relations with Africa. The India-Africa Forum Summit was held in New Delhi in April 2008, when with African leaders at that Summit, we added a new impetus and dynamism to our partnership. We remain committed to working with our partners in Africa, for a more cohesive engagement in the present century. A milestone in our bilateral cooperation is the Pan-Africa E-Network. I am happy that Seychelles was one of the first countries to fully operationalize this project, which provides for tele-education and tele-medicine. I remain confident that the people of Seychelles will benefit from its use.
Your visit, Mr. President, will open a new chapter in our relations. We have finalised several initiatives to build a true partnership of friendship and cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you to join me in a toast to: -
- the health and happiness of His Excellency, Mr. James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles;
- the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of the Republic of Seychelles; and
- the everlasting and ever growing friendship between India and Seychelles.