BY SHRI K.R.NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR
OF MR. A. AKAEV, PRESIDENT OF THE KYRGYZ REPUBLIC
AND MADAME MAIRAM AKAEVA
NEW DELHI, MONDAY, APRIL 13, 1999
Guests from the Kyrgyz Republic,
I have great
pleasure in welcoming to India Your Excellency and Madame Akaeva and the
distinguished members of your delegation. I have pleasant memories of
my visit to your beautiful country in 1996, the warmth with which my wife
and members of my family were received by your people and the opportunities
I had of exchanging views with you, Mr. President, and the members of
your Government. The exchange of high level visits between our two countries
since the emergence of the Kyrgyz Republic as a sovereign independent
State, has contributed to the strengthening of our bilateral relations.
Your Excellency's present visit will, no doubt, raise our relations to
yet higher level.
the roots of our relations go back to ancient times and have received
sustenance from our civilisational contacts. The Great Silk Route connected
our peoples not only in trade but also in the commerce of ideas. Buddhism
travelled to Central Asia and beyond; likewise Sufism linked India to
Central Asia. Our cultural affinity is depicted and treasured so artistically
in 'Manas' in your country and in the 'Mahabharata' and 'Ramayana' in
India. In contemporary times, we have both developed and nurtured multi-ethnic,
multi-lingual and multi-religious societies. We both seek to preserve
this pluralism through our basic policies of toleration, secularism and
opposition to extremism of every kind.
you are visiting India after seven years. During this period, India has
seen many changes. Economic reforms, liberalisation and deregulation have
been pursued consistently but with caution mindful of the need for the
role of the State in the alleviation of poverty and in human development.
We have also sought integration with the world economy in an appropriate
pace. Science and Technology continue to lead our economic progress. Today
India's economy ranks 5th in the world. Its achievement in fields as diverse
as agriculture, computer software, space research and nuclear science
are a source of great pride for our people.
however, require an environment of peace and security. Mr. President,
you are aware that for decades, India has advocated comprehensive and
universal nuclear disarmament. But far from following this path of peace
the powers have been seeking to consolidate the division of the world
into nuclear-haves and have-nots, thus perpetuating the inequality at
the very core of the world order. India, Mr. President, continues to strive
for non-discriminatory, comprehensive and universal nuclear disarmament
and abolition of all weapons of mass destruction. We have declared a voluntary
moratorium on further tests and expressed our willingness to convert it
into a de jure obligation. India has vowed not to be the first to use
nuclear weapons. Since India seeks only minimum nuclear deterrence, it
will not be engaged in any nuclear arms race.
In our region,
India has taken several initiatives to improve its relations with its
neighbours. In order to normalise relations with Pakistan, Prime Minister
Vajpayee undertook a historic bus-ride to Lahore. Based on the principle
of 'bilateralism', India is now conducting a composite dialogue with Pakistan
to find peaceful solutions to all outstanding problems between the two
countries. Another dimension of this effort is to simultaneously to promote
cooperative relations in the economic and cultural fields and to establish
confidence building measures.
The end of
the cold war raised hopes of a new multi-polar world order. But, Excellency,
events of the last few weeks suggest that powerful countries would rather
have a world to order rather than a world order based on the sovereign
equality of nations.
it is a matter of immense satisfaction that in the years after the establishment
of the Kyrgyz Republic, relations between our two countries have progressed
steadily. Two sessions of Indo-Kyrgyz Joint Commission have been held.
Indo-Kyrgyz Joint Business Council has been established and its first
session is being currently held. Our scientists have been interacting
with each other. Political consultations between Ministries of Foreign
Affairs have taken place regularly. Cultural exchanges have been frequent
and fruitful. In 1997, Days of Indian Culture were observed in Kyrgyzstan.
Days of Kyrgyz Culture were marked in India earlier this year. While your
great epic 'Manas' was translated into Hindi two years ago, 'Mahabharata'
was translated into the Kyrgyz language last year. These happy developments
have helped in promoting people-to-people contact.
on the threshold of a new century and a new millennium, our two countries
are facing new opportunities as well as challenges of development and
social justice and of peace. We are ready to continue working with the
friendly people and government of Kyrgyzstan sharing our experience in
a spirit of true partnership. Let us also commit ourselves together to
the cause of international peace that is based on the principles of peaceful
existence, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of States,
non-interference in the internal affairs of each other and willingness
to solve all problems among the States through peaceful negotiations.
Gentlemen, I request you to join me in a toast:-
- to the health
and personal well being of His Excellency President Akaev and Madame Mairam
- to the abiding
friendship between India and the Kyrgyz Republic; and
- to the continuing
friendship and prosperity of our two peoples.