International Affairs


Your Excellency

President Alberto Fujimori

Miss Keiko Fujimori


Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

We are happy to be present here today in the midst of our Peruvian friends. I thank you for your warm words of welcome. I wish to express on behalf of my wife, my family members, the members of my delegation, and myself, our sincere thanks to Your Excellency, to the First Lady Miss Keiko Fujimori and to the Government and people of Peru for the warmth, friendship and hospitality with which we have been received in your country. There is indeed, a strong bond of friendship and affinity between the Indian and Peruvian peoples. On this first day of my visit to Peru, I have been struck by the great similarities that unite us. Our societies share similar complexities, our peoples share common hopes and aspirations.

Your Excellency's historic visit to India last year helped a great deal to bridge by friendship and co-operation the oceanic distance between our two countries and opened a new chapter in our relations. During that visit, we had the opportunity to meet and discuss various matters of mutual interest. To-day, Indo-Peruvian relations are being expanded and deepened in many spheres. I am indeed happy to be here to-day, as the first President of the Republic of India to visit Peru. I am confident that our dialogue and interaction during this visit will further consolidate Indo-Peruvian relations as our two countries enter the 21st Century.

India and Peru are countries which are proud of their ancient civilizations and rich cultures. Our peoples are a fusion of many ethnic groups and races, reflecting the rich tapestry of our history over the centuries. Your poet Jose Santos Chocano wrote: "My blood is Spanish and Incan in its throb", and "I fuse both races with a noise like thunder". This fascinating mixture of racial elements has become even more diverse and lively in Peruvian society to-day as it has in multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-lingual India. Our myths and folklore share many aspects in common. The Andean people and the people of India have long revered the generative forces of our Mother Earth.

Our two civilizations developed independently of each other. They have been alike, however, in the manner in which each one's influence and legendary fame spread far beyond their territorial borders. The life-story of Simon Bolivar, the great liberator of Peru and other South American countries has inspired many generations of Indians. The poems of the great Peruvian poet, Cesar Vallejo, whose work has been translated into Hindi, are admired in my country. And, I am also aware that the great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, who was invited to Peru for the centenary celebrations of the Battle of Ayacucho in 1924, has a dedicated following in Peru.

Your Excellency, both India and Peru are developing countries, who have opened their economies to the world in a process of dynamic modernization. At the same time, we have held on to our cultural moorings. We have seen the dramatic economic progress that has taken place in Peru under your able and dynamic leadership. We have also seen the resolute and determined manner in which you have tackled the terrible menace of terrorism. The Government and the people of India who have also experienced and fought this scourge of our times, share your view that no concessions can be made to the demands of terrorists.

Peru has recently felt the adverse effects of the weather phenomenon called "El Nino". The Government and people of India express their sympathy and solidarity for those Peruvians who have been affected by El Nino.

India is currently celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of her independence. Our greatest achievement since independence has been the establishment of a democratic system of government and politics. Indian democracy has great relevance to the pluralistic world order that is now emerging. We have reached out to the world through our policy of non-alignment and peaceful co-existence and worked sincerely for good neighbourly and cooperative relations in our region. Ours is an enterprise of peace and development, friendship and co-operation.

Since the establishment of our diplomatic relations thirty five years ago, our two countries have enjoyed closer contact and co-operation. Peru is to-day an esteemed member of NAM and also of G-15. We felicitate Peru on its forthcoming entry into APEC . In these multiple roles in the international community I am confident that Peru, together with India, can play an important part in the United Nations in creating a new and more equitable world order. Your poet Cesar Vallejo has put it pithily "the Earth is a worn dice _ and round now, from so much random rolling". Certainly the world is now more round and a multi-polar one in which each nation has a significant role to play.

In many ways, the relationship between India and Peru can be a model for cooperation between Asia and Latin America. We have seen how our trade and commercial exchanges have grown in the last few years. We must now set higher targets for such cooperation and exchanges. Excellency, during your visit to India, and my current visit, we have been able to identify several new areas of cooperation. As we stand on the threshold of a new millenium, I am confident that this co-operation will grow and yield substantial results for our countries and for the world.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in a toast:

- the health of their Excellencies, President Alberto Fujimori and Miss Keiko Fujimori;
- to the progress and prosperity of the people of Peru and;
- to the enduring friendship between India and Peru.

Thank you

Jai Hind