SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA, H.E. DR. SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO
New Delhi, 25th January 2011
Your Excellency Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono,
President of the Republic of Indonesia,
Madam Ani Bambang Yudhoyono,
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Government and people of India, I extend a very warm welcome to you Mr. President and to Madam Yudhoyono on your State Visit to India.
Mr. President, on 26 January 1950 on the occasion of the proclamation of the Indian Republic, we were honoured with the presence of your first President, Dr. Sukarno and Mrs. Fatmawati Sukarno as our State Guests. Today, we are honoured and happy to have you with us as the Chief Guest on the occasion of India's 62nd Republic Day Celebrations.
Your presence here today is symbolic of the spirit of mutual solidarity in which Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr. Sukarno, convened the Bandung Conference in 1955. Together, they represented the voice of the oppressed peoples of the world in their struggle for freedom against colonial domination. The quest for freedom brought our nations close to each other, and together we wrote the concluding chapters of colonialism, and laid the foundations of the Afro-Asian Movement.
Excellency, India and Indonesia have enjoyed two millenia of close cultural and commercial ties. The shared cultural history can be seen in common elements in our languages, literature, visual and performing arts and handicrafts. We must continue to promote active cultural exchanges, so that future generations are also made aware of our age old ties. India and Indonesia share common values, interests and priorities including our commitment to pluralism and diversity. Perhaps, there is no other country with which Indian shares so much in common as with Indonesia. Today, India and Indonesia stand proudly together as the largest pluralistic democracies of Asia.
Our modern relationship had drawn strength from the many commonalities between our two countries, and has made rapid progress since the establishment of the Strategic Partnership during your visit to India in 2005. We have developed strong ties and institutional frameworks for dialogue and co-operation in the political, security, science and technology and cultural fields. Indonesia is a major trading partner of India in the ASEAN region and also an important destination for our investment. I fondly recall my own visit to Indonesia and my discussions with Your Excellency in December 2008, on further consolidating our relationship.
We are pleased that during your current visit, our two countries have signed a range of new Agreements and MoUs that will further consolidate our ties in these areas and indeed, take it to a new level. The new frameworks at the Government to Government level have been supplemented by a number of significant business to business agreements that will bring our industrial sectors into close co-operation with each other.
We attach great importance to our relations with Indonesia, not only at the bilateral level but also as a regional partner and as a friend in ASEAN. Relations with ASEAN are at the heart of India's "Look East Policy" and Indonesia is central to ASEAN. We deeply value the support Indonesia has extended to India in promoting India-ASEAN engagement. I would like to extend our congratulations on Indonesia taking over the chairmanship of ASEAN next year. We are confident that under your Chairmanship, the achievements of ASEAN, the progress of our dialogue partnership and the outcomes of the East Asia Summit will reach new heights.
Mr. President, I would like to congratulate you on your sagacious and wise leadership of Indonesia, as also for the immense progress that has been made by Indonesia in recent years. Indonesia is now universally acknowledged as amongst the fastest growing economies in Asia, and is playing an important role in discussions on the many global issues of our times. As major countries, India and Indonesia can and must work together in fora like the UN, WTO and G-20 on global issues. Terrorism is a threat to global peace and security. Our two countries have suffered from terrorist attacks targeting innocent civilians. These tragic events remind us that we must remain resolute and persevere in our determination to root out terrorism.
Mr. President your visit is significant as it reaffirms that the destinies of our two great nations are bound together. Our partnership has stood the test of time, and we must continue to synergise our strengths and complementaries, to give a new momentum to our relations.
Distinguished Guests, may I now request you to join me in raising a toast to:-
- the health, happiness and success of His Excellency President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Madam Ani Bambang Yudhoyono;
- the progress and prosperity of the fraternal and peace loving people of Indonesia; and
- the close and abiding friendship and co-operation between India and Indonesia.