BY SHRI K.R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, WHILE ACCEPTING THE CREDENTIALS
FROM MR. ALBERTO ESCUDERO, AMBASSADOR-DESIGNATE OF SPAIN
NEW DELHI, THURSDAY,
AUGUST 27, 1998
I have great pleasure
in welcoming you to India and in accepting the Letter of Credence from His
Majesty, King Juan Carlos I of Spain accrediting you as the Ambassador Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Spain to India.
Relations between Spain
and India go back in history when there were contacts, particularly in the
areas of trade and commerce and extensive cultural exchanges, despite the
constraints posed by geographical distance. Our two countries have been
enriched as a consequence of these contacts which have left their indelible
imprint and created lasting affinities. Perhaps our interaction would have
been even closer if Christopher Columbus, who had set out to seek a new
sea route to India, had not stumbled upon a new continent on his way.
The fables of the Panchatantra
found their way into Spanish literature as far back as in the 13th Century,
during the rule of Alfonso X. In this century, the special relationship
that flowered between two of the most famous poets of our times, the Spanish
poet, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Rabindranath Tagore, resulted in a literary
relationship that endures to this day.
We are happy that interactions
between our two countries in the fields of the arts, culture and academia
continues through the medium of the Indo-Spanish Cultural Exchange Programme.
A number of Indian students and university professors are benefiting from
the opportunities offered by this Programme. We hope to encourage an equal
level of enthusiasm in Spanish academic circles towards Indian languages
and cultural studies. There must be many scholars in Spain who echo the
poet Jimenez's aphorism: "An Easterner and a Westerner I am, Alas! For me
there is no way out!"
We have in recent years,
witnessed a growth in trade and economic relations between our two countries.
There is, however, considerable scope for enhancing cooperation even further
in these areas. The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
signed during the Crown Prince's visit last year is a step in this direction.
Ample opportunities exist for augmenting bilateral trade and investment.
I am confident, Mr. Ambassador, that your efforts will provide a catalytic
boost that will help us achieve the full potential of economic cooperation
between our two countries.
We value the special
affection, which the Spanish Royal family has for India. We have particularly
pleasant memories of the State Visit of Their Majesties to India in 1982.
The presence of the Crown Prince in India for the inauguration of "EXPOTECNIA
- 97" was, we appreciate, a special gesture. We are privileged to have this
linkage which provides a unique quality to our bilateral relationship.
Spain's membership of
the European Union also constitutes an important dimension of the relationship
between our two countries. The European Union is India's largest trade,
investment and technology partner. We are confident that partnership and
cooperation between India and the European Union in both political and economic
fields will continue to grow. We look forward to working with Spain in this
Both India and Spain
are committed to the principles of democracy and individual freedoms under
the rule of law. These affinities have enabled us to build a relationship
based on mutual trust, goodwill and cooperation. Mr. Ambassador, this year
marks the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations
between Spain and India. I am sure that our two countries will continue
to work together, on the basis of shared values, for the benefit of our
two peoples and for a peaceful and equitable world order in the 21st Century.
I wish you, Mr. Ambassador,
a successful tenure in India and assure you of the full cooperation of my
Government in the performance of your duties.