SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOZAMBIQUE, H.E. MR. ARMANDO EMILIO GUEBUZA
New Delhi, 30th September 2010
Your Excellency President Armando Guebuza,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I warmly welcome Your Excellency and the distinguished members of your delegation to India. Our countries have a warm and long-standing friendship based on a shared history.
When India became independent in 1947, many countries of Asia and Africa were still under colonial yoke. Given our own experience of the struggle for independence led by Mahatma Gandhi, it was natural for India and its people to share the aspirations of the people of those countries, which had still not been liberated. Thus, our support for the people in their struggle for freedom, including in Mozambique became a cornerstone of our engagement with Africa.
Since the independence of Mozambique in 1975, our bilateral relationship was nurtured by your predecessors and by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and later by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. It has been growing rapidly and is now on the threshold of becoming a strategic partnership. Excellency, your predecessor President Chissano had visited India in May 2003 and I understand that this is your first visit to India as Head of State. I am confident that your visit would give further impetus to our age-old ties of friendship and brotherhood.
There have been wide-ranging changes in the political and economic landscape of our two countries. It is our common challenge to see inclusive growth in our countries. In this regard, your open and inclusive Presidency to reach out to the people at the grassroots throughout the country, and your Government's efforts to fight poverty are exemplary and commendable. I can assure you that India remains committed to support Mozambique, including through capacity building efforts like the S&T Park, the Pan African e-Network, bilateral training programmes, and the special scholarship schemes for Agriculture Sciences and scientific research, announced after the India-Africa Forum Summit in 2008.
Our economic relationship at present though substantial is still below potential. We feel that long term and durable economic relations between our two countries can be built by supporting complementarities in our economies. There is scope for cooperation in several fields, including infrastructure, minerals and hydrocarbons, agro and food processing, and in the development of small scale industries, which are ideally suited to generate employment.
We acknowledge the growing role and stature of your country in the regional affairs of Africa. You have been in the forefront in the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We remain enthusiastic about our growing engagement with the SADC and the AU for mutual benefit. India, being aware of the need for a transformation from political emancipation to economic development, has revitalized its own policies towards Africa. At the India Africa Forum Summit in 2008, the Indian Government announced multi-faceted support to Africa's aspirations. As part of this commitment, India would establish several Institutions in Africa.
India and Mozambique have also been working together in various international fora including the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation. We share a common commitment to pluralism, inclusiveness and creation of an equitable world order.
The scourge of terrorism has emerged as a global problem. Our country has been a victim and has lost innumerable lives as a result of cross-border terrorism. The terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008 was the worst kind of attack. Terrorism sponsored across borders by States is a threat to international peace and security. We must work together to see that these forces of terrorism are dealt with firmly and eradicated.
I have no doubt that the new areas of cooperation that have been identified during your present visit, will bind us even further in an enduring partnership that will prove to be a model for development cooperation.
With these words, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen may I request you to join me in raising a toast:-
- to the health, happiness and well-being of His Excellency President Armando Emilio Guebuza;
- to the well-being and prosperity of the people of Mozambique; and
- to lasting friendship between India and Mozambique.