BY SHRI K.R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, WHILE ACCEPTING
CREDENTIALS FROM MR. LADISLAV VOLKO, AMBASSADOR-DESIGNATE
OF THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC TO INDIA
NEW DELHI, JANUARY 13,
It gives me great pleasure
to accept your Credentials as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of the Slovak Republic to India. I welcome you to India and extend my felicitations
on your appointment to this important position.
India's relations with
the Slovak Republic have traditionally been warm, close and friendly. Even
before India's independence, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had visited Bratislava
in 1938 accompanied by his daughter. I am happy that a plaque in the City
Square prominently recalls this visit as a symbol of our historical association.
cooperation has been multi-dimensional in character encompassing economic,
commercial, defence, scientific & technological and cultural spheres. Though
Slovakia became independent on January 1, 1993, India had recognised the
independence of the Slovak Republic and had conveyed its intention to establish
diplomatic relations in December 1992 itself. Since then, through joint
efforts, our multi-faceted cooperation has made significant progress and
has been considerably strengthened acquiring greater meaning and thrust.
Regular high level bilateral exchanges have proved useful in promoting mutual
understanding about each other's concerns and priorities. The State visit
to Bratislava in October 1996 by my predecessor was an important milestone
in our bilateral cooperation. That visit and other exchanges at various
levels has given the necessary impetus to our friendly and cooperative ties.
Parliamentary contacts have provided an additional important dimension to
our people to people contacts. We are gratified that the rich and varied
cultural heritage of India is well appreciated in Slovakia, while we recognise
Slovakia's contribution to European culture.
Excellency, India is
a land of unity in diversity which has made us firmly committed to the principles
of democracy and secularism. We have watched with friendly interest the
consolidation of democracy and the advent of multi-party politics in the
Slovak Republic. Our shared democratic values, beliefs and aspirations have
helped in the further strengthening of our traditional friendship.
I am particularly pleased
that in the context of our overall bilateral relationship, commercial and
economic ties have increasingly assumed greater importance. While Slovakia
continues to modernise and reform its economic system, India is in the second
stage of its economic reform process. I am confident that our two countries
can look forward to closer mutually beneficial economic cooperation in the
coming years by taking full advantage of the opportunities ahead. We need
to give greater focus and attention to new areas of cooperation. Mutual
investment in each other's country should be further encouraged.
It is gratifying that
in the context of its relations with Asia, the Slovak Republic has accorded
priority to India. India attaches importance to its relations with the Slovak
Republic in East and Central Europe while continuing to take an active interest
in international affairs both at the global and regional levels. As we enter
the new millennium, we are faced with the challenge of creating a new world
order that is just, equitable and is based on respect for the sovereignty
and territorial integrity of States. Further, we are today confronted with
new challenges of international terrorism, narco-terrorism and arms trade
that threatens peace and security globally which need to be eliminated through
concerted international action. I am confident that through joint efforts,
India and the Slovak Republic will be able to pursue these objectives so
that we leave a safer world for our children.
Excellency, we are aware
of your immense personal contribution to the cause of strengthening Indo-Slovak
friendship in your capacity as the Founder-President of the Association
of Indian Friends now named "Indian Club". I would like to avail of this
opportunity to assure you the full cooperation of the Government of India
on all issues concerning our bilateral relations. I wish you a pleasant,
fruitful and memorable stay in India and every success in your endeavours
to further promote Indo-Slovak friendship. I also take this opportunity
to convey through you my best wishes for the continued good health and happiness
of His Excellency Dr. Rudolf Schuster, President of the Slovak Republic,
and for the prosperity and well-being of the friendly people of Slovakia.