International Affairs


Your Majesty King Mohammed VI,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Government and people of India, it gives me immense pleasure to welcome Your Majesty, members of the Royal family and your distinguished entourage to India. It is a unique privilege to have you in our midst a distinguished personality and a close friend of India. Your Majesty’s visit is also historic, as it is the first by a Moroccan monarch.

India and Morocco share an age-old relationship in terms of our history, culture, traditions and value systems. The great Moroccan traveller and historian, Ibn Batuta, had visited India in the 14th century A.D. and lived here for almost a decade. Ibn Batuta exemplified Morocco’s unique role in the historical intermediation between the East and the West. Not only did he introduce India to the Arab world but his chronicles are among the most important and authentic source material today for medieval Indian history.

The Arab world has served as a true bridge in interpreting and disseminating the achievements of Indian thought and culture to the West. Likewise, India facilitated Arab world’s interaction with the orient. The impact of the Arab world and Islamic thought on India has been profound and far-reaching, contributing to the rise of a composite culture and a tolerant pluralist society in India.

Morocco, Your Majesty, is a pillar of stability in the region. We in India have watched with admiration Morocco’s progress as a modern nation, dedicated to democracy and to liberal freedoms and human rights, tolerance of religious and other minorities. Your illustrious father, King Hassan II symbolised Morocco’s commitment to humane ideals and principles. We have no doubt that now, under Your Majesty’s youthful and sagacious leadership, Morocco will continue its march towards progress and prosperity combining tradition with modernity. Your Majesty, we in India share these objectives and believe that these will further facilitate the process of co-operation between us. Morocco situated as it is at a strategic junction of the world is for us a gateway to the Arab, Islamic and the African worlds, and to the European Union.

I have vivid and pleasant recollections of my visit to your great country as the Vice President of India in 1993 when I had the privilege of being received warmly by your late father, His Majesty King Hassan II of Morocco, one of the great and wise statesmen of the 20th century. On that occasion I had the good fortune to be received by Your Majesty, then the Crown Prince and the Prince Charming of Morocco. India and Morocco have been linked together by common historical experiences and common aspirations and endeavours in the struggle against colonialism, and for world peace in the movement of the non-aligned nations. Now that colonialism and the Cold War are things of the past, we have joined our efforts to shape a new world order.

We believe, Your Majesty, that the United Nations Organization is the pillar of the new world order and that it is high time that the present realities of the world and the aspirations of the peoples of the world are reflected in the structure of the United Nations. I recall in this respect Your Majesty’s address to U.N. Millennium Summit in which you referred to the need to have larger representation of the developing countries in the Security Council in the face of the new world realities. India, Your Majesty, is a candidate for the permanent membership of a reformed and enlarged Security Council. We appreciate the sympathetic attitude of Your Majesty’s Government to our candidature.

Your majesty, the world to-day is disturbed by the new menace of religious fundamentalism and international terrorism. India has been a victim of cross-border terrorism in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in India. In spite of this continuing threat our Prime Minister has declared a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir. The people of Kashmir as well as the nations of the world have welcomed this gesture of peace and reconciliation by the Government of India. We sincerely hope that this cease fire move will be reciprocated by Pakistan and the Pakistan supported militants in Kashmir, so that friendly and peaceful dialogue can take the place of violence and terrorism. It has been our basic policy to live together in peace and amity with Pakistan for the good of the people of this subcontinent.

In the Middle East the peace process is to-day dead-locked. We are aware of the special initiatives taken by Your Majesty in Middle East Peace Process. It is our hope that the dialogue process will soon be resumed in the Middle East. India has always shown unwavering solidarity in support of the rights of the Arab people and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people. We believe that all the States in the region, including Israel and Palestine, have a right to exist within their own recognised and secure boundaries.

It is a matter of great satisfaction for us that the relations between India and Morocco have become stronger and multi-faceted. We do appreciate immensely the sympathy and understanding that Morocco has shown to our concerns. We are grateful to Your Majesty’s Government for the sympathy and the generous assistance you have extended to the earthquake affected people of Gujarat. Your Majesty’s initiative in sending your flagship to join the just concluded International Fleet Review in Mumbai, is a testimony to the development of the growing all-round ties between our two countries. Our commercial and economic relations have also been expanding substantially and rapidly. I should like to emphasize that Your Majesty’s visit to-day has opened a new and historic chapter of interaction between our two countries. I am sure, Your Majesty, with your youthful dynamism and statesmanlike resolve to explore the potential of the East through the gateway of India will lead to a strategic and intensified interaction between India and Morocco.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now invite you to join me in raising a toast:
    • to the good health, long life and happiness of His Majesty King Mohammed VI,
    • to the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Morocco, and
    • to the everlasting friendship and cooperation between India and Morocco.
Thank you

Jai Hind