|SPEECH BY SHRI K.R. NARAYANAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET HOSTED BY DR. HABIBI, FIRST VICE PRESIDENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
TEHRAN, OCTOBER 22, 1996
Your Excellency Dr. Habibi, the First Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran and distinguished guests,
It is a pleasure and privilege to be in your midst this evening. May I thank you, Excellency, for the kind invitation to me to visit your beautiful and friendly country. I and the members of my delegation are overwhelmed by the warmth of your welcome and the generosity of your hospitality.
Standing before you this evening I am thrilled by the consciousness of the long history of the association between our two peoples and civilizations. Indeed few peoples have been more closely related in origin and throughout history than the people of India and the people of Iran. We have interacted with each other for centuries enriching our cultures, languages and literatures and contributing significantly to world culture and civilization. In modern times we have resisted all attempts at domination, asserted our independence, and worked for a more equal and just world order.
We in India perceived the Islamic revolution of 1979, under the inspiring leadership of Imam Khomeini, as an authentic assertion of Iran's heritage and personality. India was among the first countries to acknowledge the significance of the Iranian revolution. We wish Iran well in the principled, value-based and independent path it has chosen for its development and progress.
Mr. Vice President, our two civilizations have attached primacy to the spiritual aspect and to basic human values in national and international life. We have stood for a world order structured on the basis of the equality, the independence and territorial integrity of states, non-interference in each other's internal affairs and peaceful co-existence. These principles need reiteration in the present circumstances when the powers are seeking to impose their own particular patterns, ideas and interests on the world in the name of over-riding internationalism and high-sounding doctrines. The developing countries which contain the majority of mankind have problems of their own concerning socio-economic transformation and technological self-reliance in the solution of which we need the co-operation of the developed nations of the world. But as a matter of fact the developing countries are placed in a more disadvantageous position to-day than at any time before. India and Iran will have to work together with other developing nations and reactivate the nonaligned movement in order to rectify this position and to contribute to the balance of the world.
Mr. Vice President, both our countries had set great store by the United Nations Organization and we have a great stake in the strengthening of this international body. It is in our common interest to see the U.N. body democratized reflecting the aspirations and the will of the majority of mankind rather than managed by a few. India is for restructuring the U.N., particularly the Security Council, with proper representation of the developing countries and regions in accordance with their size, population and contribution they have made to the ideals and objectives of the U.N. That would be the symbol of a new world order and not freezing it at the 1945 or returning to the 1939 world order.
We are committed, Excellency, to the development of friendly and co-operative relations with all our neighbours. In the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation, SAARC, we have a forum for achieving co-operation among more than a billion people inhabiting the sub-continent. While working for this larger regional co-operation we are determined to resolve by peaceful bilateral means whatever problems that may exist with our neighbours. We believe that it is the destiny of the people of South Asia to live together in peace, amity and brotherhood.
In this changing world Indo-Iranian relations have an important role to play. Our bilateral co-operation based on trust, friendship and affinity of interests could be a steadying factor in the region. There is a built-in complementarity between Iran's rich natural resources and India's strength in industrial, managerial and scientific-technological know-how. There is immense potential for economic co-operation and we are engaged in mutually beneficial co-operation in various sectors. I venture to hope, Mr. Vice President, that my present visit to Iran and my discussions with Your Excellency and other high dignitaries of the Islamic Republic, will give a new impetus to the multi-faceted co-operation between our two countries. In our view a close and meaningful relationship between India and Iran will contribute to peace, stability, security and progress in the region. Recent developments in neighbouring Afghanistan are a cause for concern to the whole region. Both our countries seek to preserve the independence, unity and integrity of Afghanistan. We hope that the efforts under the auspices of the U.N. will help in bringing about peace and harmony in that country and safeguard it from all foreign interferences.
It is with the affirmation of this faith and hope that I convey to you, Excellency, our best wishes for the progress and prosperity of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to the friendly people of Iran.