BY SHRI K. R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR
OF MR. CASSAM
UTEEM, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS AND MRS. ZOHRA UTEEM.
NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 2, 1997
a visitor from Mauritius is for us, at any time, a singular pleasure.
To have in our midst today, in this fiftieth anniversary year of our
independence, one as distinguished as Your Excellency, is a special
pleasure and privilege. You are no stranger to India; we have had the
honour of receiving you earlier too. Each such visit has been one more
manifestation of the abiding interest of our two countries in strengthening
our close and mutually rewarding relationship.
of India and Mauritius are bound together by intimate and enduring bonds
of kinship and culture and by our common civilisational heritage. We
are also wedded to the same ideals of democracy, secularism, and nonalignment.
That fateful day in November 1834 is firmly etched in our collective
consciousness when the first batch of indentured Indian workers, transported
by an exploitative colonial authority, landed on the shores of Mauritius.
Theirs was a saga of hardwork, perseverance and cultural resilience
that turned despair into hope and wrested success from the jaws of adversity.
As we gather here to celebrate the friendship between our two countries
and peoples, it is appropriate that we render homage to those pioneers
who laid the foundation of Mauritius.
and Mauritius stand out today as symbols of progress and harmonious
living together in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual
society. Since independence, our two countries have drawn closer to
each other and in recent years, our collaboration in the economic, commercial,
defence, scientific and technological and cultural fields has acquired
a new dynamism.
we applaud the strides made by Mauritius in the economic field in recent
years. The rapid development of your Export Processing Zone, various
offshore business activities and the Freeport Scheme are remarkable
successes. In India too, the economic reform process has taken firm
root and enjoys broad political support. India has emerged as the fifth
largest economy in the world with a GDP growth rate of 7% in the last
and Mauritius can also derive satisfaction from the convergence of their
world view. The principled abstention by Mauritius on the United Nations
General Assembly Resolution on CTBT last year is demonstrative of the
priority we both attach to a step-by-step process aimed at achieving
the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons within a time-bound
we are most appreciative of Mauritius acknowledging the merit of India
occupying a permanent seat in a restructured UN Security Council.
location of Mauritius at the crossroads of the great cultural and commercial
highways between Asia and Africa have made it a natural choice for the
launching of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation.
Our common endeavour is to transform the Indian Ocean into an area of
co-operation and prosperity in the region.
our close and fraternal relations and the unique bonds between our peoples
enjoin us to move hand-in-hand into the new millenium. Let us together
resolve to meet the new challenges before us and take advantage of the
new opportunities for the benefit of our two peoples and the common
good of all mankind. On behalf of the Government and people of India,
my wife and I once again extend a warm welcome to Your Excellency and
Mrs. Uteem and wish you both and your delegation a fruitful and pleasant
stay in our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now request you to join me in a toast:
- to the
health of His Excellency, President Cassam Uteem and Mrs. Uteem;
- to the
prosperity and the well-being of the people of Mauritius; and
- to the
everlasting bonds of friendship and fraternity between our two countries