SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MALI, H.E. MR. AMADOU TOUMANI TOURE'
New Delhi, 11th January 2012
Your Excellency, Mr. Amadou Toumani Toure', President of the Republic of Mali
Madame Toure' Lobbo Traore',
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to extend to Your Excellency and Madame Traore' a very warm welcome on your State Visit to India. This visit assumes greater significance as it is the first ever visit by a Head of State of the Republic of Mali to India. We share a tradition of warm and friendly relations, which go a long way back. Both our countries are members of the Non-Aligned Movement and share common views on many global issues. Mali's continued support to India in the world fora is well appreciated by India.
We are happy to note that the democratic processes in Mali are thriving and Mali presents a befitting example of a stable political entity in Africa. The absence of any restrictions on participation of all sections of society in public life, presents a picture of a secular and confident Mali, marching ahead on its path to progress and prosperity.
We would be happy to assure Mali of our continued support and co-operation in its quest for faster socio-economic development, through technical co-operation and financial and material assistance. India is happy that Mali has increased its level of utilisation of availing the training programmes under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation. We would also like to take this opportunity to announce the recent grant from India of a Line of Credit of U.S. $ 100 million, for a power transmission project in Mali. We hope this will contribute in strengthening power availability in Mali, and will be a step forward in its economic development.
Excellency, our bilateral economic and trade relations have grown in the recent years. Our bilateral trade has increased from U.S. $ 46 million to U.S. $ 77 million in the last two years. We believe there is scope for further increasing our trade volume. Furthermore, given Mali's substantial mineral wealth, livestock potential and cotton and agriculture production, there is more than ample scope for diversification and enhancement of the bilateral trade between our two countries. We look forward to concrete efforts in this direction, by the business and investor communities of our two countries, to fully realise the potential of Indo - Malian trade and investments.
India has had historic ties with Africa, and in recent times these have happily evolved, to tap the opportunities offered by changes taking place in Africa and India. As India has demonstrated in the successive India-Africa Forum Summits held in 2008 and 2011, it is engaging with Africa at the bilateral, regional and continental levels, with a view to realise Africa's vast potential and utilise it for its development. India considers it a privilege to be partner in Africa's development process. India is committed to work with Mali, to achieve the goals of ensuring inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Excellency, we have had extremely fruitful discussions today. We have laid the groundwork for a future course of action for co-operation in diverse areas, sharing India's experience with our Malian brothers and sisters.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to invite you all to join me in a toast to:-
- the good health and happiness of His Excellency Mr. Amadou Toumani Toure' and Madame Toure' Lobbo Traore';
- the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Mali; and
- the continuing friendship and co-operation between India and Mali