BY SHRI K.R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA,
AT THE BANQUET HOSTED BY MR. ROMAN HERZOG, PRESIDENT OF
THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
BONN, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1998
Your Excellency President
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My wife and I, and members
of our delegation, thank Your Excellency and Frau Herzog, for your warm
welcome and for this gracious hospitality.
It is a real pleasure
for us to be in Germany and to see for ourselves the definitive steps being
taken, after your historic re-unification, to weld the German nation together.
Your Excellency, we greatly
admire the remarkable all round success achieved in the past five decades
On attaining our freedom
fifty years ago, India, under the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi, and Jawaharlal
Nehru, has evolved a unique political and social system harmonizing our
multiple diversities into a vibrant democracy that has stood the test of
Germany and India, Your
Excellency, are two societies that have long cherished a life of the mind
and a life of free, intellectual enquiry.
After his visit to the
Federal Republic of Germany in l956, our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal
Nehru said to the Indian Parliament: (Quote) "There is a traditional bond
of sympathy and goodwill between our two countries. Germany's interest in
Indian thought and culture, and her most recent cooperation in our development
plans have helped greatly in building an appreciation and understanding
of each other among our peoples which, I trust, will continue to grow...that
will not only be to our mutual advantage but also, I feel, in the interest
of world peace and progress." (Unquote)
India and Germany share
centuries' old cultural interactions personified by Hermann Gundert, who
published the first Malayalam-English dictionary, Georg Foster who translated
Kalidasa's Sakuntala into German, Schopenhauer, who was greatly influenced
by Indian philosophy and Schlegel who laid the foundations for Sanskrit
studies in Germany. And as for Max Mueller, he is so well known in India
that we need to remind ourselves of the fact that he is a German scholar
and not one of our own interpreters of ancient Indian texts.
Your Excellency, Germany
was among the first countries to establish trade links with India as far
back as in the l6th century. In the subsequent centuries, these exchanges
have intensified and to-day, Germany is India's largest trading partner
in Europe and the second largest in the world. Our exchanges are as wide
in their range, as they are deep in their impact, encompassing the fields
of science, technology, trade and industry. This year we will be taking
our space cooperation into a higher trajectory with the launch of a German
satellite from an Indian Launch Vehicle. And at the other end of the geographic
spectrum, India is about to use German technology in deep sea mining for
Notwithstanding the fact
that India's population has trebled in the last five decades, we have become
and remain self-sufficient in food. Similarly, our industrial base has grown
and diversified, on the wheels of scientific and technological research
as well as applications. Over the last decade, India has embarked on a course
of major economic reforms. Our economy now offers vast opportunities for
investment and one of the biggest markets in the world to our global partners.
Our strong socio-economic foundations have enabled us, Your Excellency,
to stave off the financial crises that have assailed East and South-East
The EU, with constructive
pragmatism, has set in position varying regimes of cooperation and agreements
with the rest of the world. We believe India and the South Asian Association
of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) can feature in EU's world economic strategising,
to our mutual advantage.
Your Excellency, despite
the end of the Cold War, which marked a watershed in the history of the
20th Century, a peaceful, just and cooperative world order remains elusive.
The relative order that has been arrived at in Europe has not been replicated
in other parts of the globe.
India's decision to test
its nuclear capability was forced upon us by our security environment and
by the discriminatory nuclear regime which consolidates nuclear weapons
in the hands of a group of countries, while denying that option to other
countries. Your Excellency, our commitment to a world free of weapons of
mass destruction remains firm. We have announced a voluntary moratorium
on further underground nuclear tests and have declared that we will never
be the first to use nuclear weapons. We will work for a Nuclear Weapons
Convention as part of our priority commitment to global nuclear disarmament.
Your Excellency, India
and Germany need to strategise together on a variety of areas, including
those that concern humanity, and which Kant has summed up so beautifully
as "the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."
May I thank Your Excellency
once again for your gracious hospitality and request you Excellencies, ladies
and gentlemen to join me in a toast:
- to the health and happiness
of His Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Germany and Frau
- to the continued prosperity
of the people of Germany; and
- to the growing friendship
and cooperation between India and Germany.