SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA, H.E. MR. HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA
New Delhi, 31st August 2009
Your Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome Your Excellency, Madam Pohamba, and other distinguished members of your delegation to India. Your historic visit is a manifestation of our shared keenness to build on our historic partnership and pursue a more substantive bilateral agenda.
As the world's largest democracy, we in India, have long viewed with admiration Namibia's continuous march as a standard bearer of unity, plural democracy, social cohesion and stability. Under your able leadership, Namibia is setting an example in securing justice and equity for its citizenry. We laud your efforts to ensure peace, promote development and above all, create opportunities for all to progress under Namibia's "Vision 2030" and the Millennium Development Goals.
Namibia and India enjoy very warm and mutually supportive ties. Our relations are based on a profound understanding and appreciation of each other's concerns and we rejoice at their steady growth. Our two countries have been working hard to broaden and deepen our bilateral engagements. The volume of trade and investment, though small, is growing steadily. It is our desire to continue building a stronger partnership with Namibia. I am confident that your visit to India would open up many more new opportunities for cooperation between our two countries. The MoUs and Agreements signed earlier in the day would contribute to building an enabling framework for further deepening of our political, economic and commercial relations.
India is committed to setting up a number of projects in education, health, agriculture, mining, infrastructure, industry and ITC in Namibia under the grants of the Government of India and Lines of Credit. We will further strengthen our cooperation in human resource development and capacity building under ITEC and other schemes.
Our bilateral relations have been further consolidated through our harmonious interaction at various international fora such as the UN, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth and the World Trade Organization. India and Namibia share a commonality of views on major international issues and on combating international terrorism. We welcome your forthright condemnation of the Mumbai terrorist attack and the strong expression of solidarity with India. The fight against terrorism must be given priority and it should be recognized that there is no justification whatsoever for terrorism.
We sincerely appreciate Namibia's consistent and unequivocal support for India's candidature for permanent membership on an expanded UN Security Council. International institutions must reflect contemporary reality.
India greatly values the important regional role being played by Southern Africa Development Community and deeply appreciates Namibia hosting the inaugural India-SADC Forum in 2006. We attach importance to developing our relations with that Forum.
Excellency, a cornerstone of India's foreign policy is to help friends in Africa with their socio-economic development and for the continent of Africa to be at peace and gain its rightful place in the comity of nations. The Delhi Declaration issued after the India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in April 2008 provides a road map for giving new momentum and dynamism to relations between India and Africa.
Excellencies and Distinguished Guests may I now request you to join me in raising a toast to:-
- the good health of His Excellency President Pohamba and Madam Pohamba; and
- the further strengthening of the bonds of cooperation and friendship between India and Namibia.