SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET HOSTED ON THE OCCASION OF THE INDIA-AFRICA FORUM SUMMIT 2008
New Delhi, 8th April 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to welcome you all to India and thank you for accepting my Government's invitation to participate in the India-Africa Forum Summit. This is a gathering of friends and partners of longstanding who share civilizational bonds, common historical experiences and an abiding desire to open new vistas for inclusive socio-economic growth and overall development for the peoples of their countries.
The cultural performance that we witnessed a short while ago was a remarkable synthesis of our cultural traditions. The vibrancy, joie de vivre and enthusiasm of the performers are also the hallmark of the India-Africa relationship. We are united by our determination to jointly face common challenges, learn from each other's experiences and benefit from our respective strengths.
Your Excellencies have already begun to deliberate on how best we can weave a new carpet of India-Africa collaboration; a carpet that fully reflects the entire kaleidoscope of opportunities that beckon us to work together.
India has in the past, within the limits of its resources and capabilities, participated to useful effect in the socio-economic development of Africa. Today, the continent of Africa and the Indian sub-continent are both growing rapidly and our ability to help each other is increasing. Bearing this in mind, the Prime Minister of India has earlier today suggested ways and means by which India will substantially step up its participation in Africa's social, economic, political and other developmental processes. We are confident that our experiences and capabilities can add value to your own dynamic and valiant efforts to enhance the quality of life of your peoples.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am confident that this India-Africa Forum Summit will open new vistas for cooperation between India and Africa. It is also our intention to meet with all the leaders of Africa at the highest political level on a regular basis.
India and Africa also have common approaches on the vital issues that today challenge the international community. We stand together in the fight against terrorism for which we have zero tolerance. We are working together to ensure that international trade is carried out according to multilaterally agreed rules and regulations that guarantee the development of developing countries. We are determined to ensure that a resolution of the problem of climate change does not lead to the perpetuation of poverty in developing countries and is carried out on the basis of agreed principles such as common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities. We are agreed on the need for reform of the United Nations, including expansion of its Security Council in both categories of membership to ensure better representation of developing countries.
India-Africa cooperation has always been a partnership of equals; a partnership of peoples and a partnership that seeks to build a better, more humane, just and equitable international order.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in a toast: -
- to peace, stability and rapid development in Africa;
- to an invigorated India-Africa partnership; and
- to the health and prosperity of the people of Africa and India.