SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI, H.E. PROF. BINGU WA MUTHARIKA
New Delhi, 3rd November 2010
Your Excellency Ngwazi Prof. Bingu Wa Mutharika
President of the Republic of Malawi,
Madame Callista Mutharika,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you on your first State Visit to India. The links between India and Malawi are historical and marked with cordiality and long-standing friendship. My pleasure is all the greater because of your long standing association with India; an association which goes back to the early 1960s when you were a student of the University of Delhi.
Excellency, you have led Malawi to remarkable achievements in the last few years including the implementation of policies leading to the attainment of food security. I take this opportunity to also congratulate you on your appointment as the Chairman of the African Union, which has not only given Malawi an opportunity to play an influential role in Africa, but also globally. We applaud Malawi's leadership role. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "the history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self confidence, bravery and tenacity."
I am convinced that there is a genuine mutual desire to revitalize and recharge the bilateral relationship. Your State Visit will impart a new momentum to our ties and further broad base our relationship. The decision to re-open the Indian Mission in Lilongwe is an indication of our desire to give a fresh impetus to our bilateral co-operation.
We would encourage the private sector in both the countries to explore possibilities of forming public private partnerships, to realize the potential for co-operation that abundantly exists in several areas. I am confident that the utilization of the concessional Line of Credits offered by the Government of India to Malawi, would further boost economic and commercial co-operation between the two countries.
I am happy to note that Malawi has completed all formalities for accessing the Indian market under the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme for Least Developed Countries announced at the India - Africa Forum Summit in 2008. The Government of Malawi may like to encourage Malawian exporters to take further advantage of this scheme. We should also look at greater complementarities to enhance our bilateral trade.
The India Africa Forum Summit held in April 2008 designed a new architecture for a structured engagement, interaction and co-operation between India and Africa. We are committed to assist African countries in capacity building, human resource development and other pillars of our co-operation. The Pan African e-network project offers a platform for India to share its expertise with countries in Africa. Your role, Excellency, as the Chairman of the African Union, is very important as we plan for the next India-Africa Summit to be held in Africa next year.
India and Malawi share common perceptions on major international and multilateral issues of mutual interest, and work together in several international fora such as the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth, the WTO and at the African Union. We look forward to working with Malawi on the reform of global institutions of governance, the fight against terrorism and climate change, and our common endeavour for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
India attaches a great importance to its relations with Malawi. Excellency, the agreements reached during your visit will further strengthen the institutional framework and increase the depth of the bilateral co-operation between the two countries. We share with you a vision of partnership based on friendship and mutual understanding and co-operation.
Distinguished Guests, may I now request you to join me in a toast to:-
- the good health and happiness of His Excellency, President Prof. Bingu Wa Mutharika and Madame Callista Mutharika;
- the continued well-being and prosperity of our two friendly peoples; and
- close friendship and co-operation between our two countries.