SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL STATE BANQUET HOSTED BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS,DR. NAVINCHANDRA RAMGOOLAM
Mauritius, 25th April 2011
Your Excellency Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius and Mrs. Veena Ramgoolam,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My delegation and I are delighted to be in your beautiful country. I am truly touched by the extraordinarily warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation. Mr. Prime Minister, I deeply appreciate the kind words addressed to me personally, and your expressions of goodwill and affection for the people of India. We fully reciprocate the same, as I bring with me the greetings and best wishes of more than a billion people of India, to the friendly people of Mauritius, with whom we share everlasting bonds of kinship. We are bound together by a common history, by sentiments and values, customs and traditions, and by aspirations that makes our relationship so unique. Thus, coming to Mauritius for me, is akin to coming home.
Nearly 200 years ago when your forefathers set sail braving the many vicissitudes and difficulties, they would not have known that they were going to change the very environment of an inhospitable rugged terrain to what Mauritius is today - a proud nation bearing the flag of progress and development; where the values of democracy are respected; and where that path of economic development is pursued in which social benefits are given their due place. Among those who built your nation, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam stands tall as the Father of the Republic of Mauritius. His was a personality well known to those in India, particularly to that generation of freedom fighters who fought for the independence of India from colonial yoke, to set in chain a process leading to the rapid de-colonisation of many a nation, particularly in this region.
The ideals and the vision of our founding fathers also representing the eternal values of humanity, provide invaluable guidance to us. In building societies that are prosperous with the fruits of progress reaching all its peoples, in creating economies that are vibrant and expanding, in promoting politics that are just, we are inspired by our common heritage, where the world is considered as one family. This was the wise message contained in "Vasudhaiva Kutumbukam".
I am particularly pleased that our relations which derived inspiration from the visit of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Indian Nation, in the first year of the 20th Century, have strengthened. Our ties encompass a vast range and diverse areas of co-operation in both the traditional and modern areas. On issues of political importance our views converge. Our economic co-operation could see some reinvigoration. Our co-operation in the education sectors is intense. Our cultural interaction is active, and co-operation in the services sector holds great promise, especially in Information Technology and tourism, among others.
The Indian economy which touched a growth rate of 8.5 percent last year, is expected to be further strengthened and we hope to grow at 9 percent this year. We have an ambitious programme for the expansion of our social and infrastructure sectors. Our large and growing economy offers many opportunities for other countries, as indeed for our traditional friends like Mauritius, with whom we seek to broaden our economic engagement, a fundamental pillar of our strategic partnership.
India takes genuine pride in the many achievements of Mauritius and the steady progress of its friendly people. We, in India, also value Mauritius standing with us on issues of importance to India. We appreciate the support of Mauritius for India's rightful place as a permanent member in an expanded United Nations Security Council. The world has changed from what it was in the middle of the 20th Century, and the institutional architecture of that day, should evolve with the reality of the second decade of the 21st Century.
My discussions in Mauritius, confirm that our two countries share the objective of further strengthening of our multi-faceted, multi-dimensional relations. This augurs well for the future of India-Mauritius relations. I am confident that my visit will provide additional impetus and momentum to our friendship.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in raising a toast:-
- to the health and well-being of our gracious host, His Excellency Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius and Mrs. Veena Ramgoolam;
- to the continued success, prosperity and happiness of the Mauritian people; and
- to the enduring partnership between India and the friendly Republic of Mauritius.