|SPEECH BY SHRI K.R.NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF H.M. MR. MOHAMMED – VI, KING OF MOROCCO
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY27, 2001
King Mohammed VI,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now invite you to join me in raising a toast:
the good health, long life and happiness of His Majesty King Mohammed
the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Morocco, and
the everlasting friendship and cooperation between India and Morocco.