International Affairs



Your Excellency Mr. Abdelaziz Bouteflika,President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria,Excellencies,Ladies and Gentlemen,

Excellency, it is with very great pleasure that I extend to you, on behalf of the Government and the people of India, a warm welcome to our midst, as the Chief Guest at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Republic of India. We also welcome you as the President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, as a leading statesman of the Arab and the African world and as a fighter of indomitable courage in the cause of Asian-African liberation and as a nation-builder committed to peace, progress and democracy in your country. The links between India and Algeria, Mr. President, go back to the years preceding Algeria’s independence. India was in the forefront of the countries asserting solidarity with the Algerian struggle for independence. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru described it as "part of the great wave of national upsurges which has swept Africa and Asia." Speaking in the Indian Parliament on December 20, 1960, he again said: "The sacrifice of the Algerian people has been amazing. I do not know if there are any parallels in the history of a country of this size carrying on such a war of independence year after year at enormous cost to life".

We have expressed our solidarity with the Algerian struggle at the Bandung Conference, at the United Nations, and through our active foreign policy. The former President of Algeria, Mr. Chadli Bendjedid, during his visit to India in 1982, had referred to the "profound memory" of the Algerian people of this support from India. Excellency, you are no stranger to India. We recollect very vividly, your visit to India in 1975, when you expressed graciously Algeria’s solidarity with India’s national aspirations and congratulated us on our scientific technological achievements. Both India and Algeria have been comrades-in-arms in the struggle for Asia-Africa liberation and in the non-alignment movement for peace in the world. And after the end of the Cold War we have been co-operating with each other in the struggle of the developing countries for a more equitable world order.

We also stand firmly against religious fundamentalism and against the new scourge of terrorism that is seeking to destabilize nations and disturb the peace of the international system. Both our countries have been the victims of religious fundamentalism and terrorism. We appreciate the steps you have taken in your country to counter the fundamentalist and terrorist onslaught on the unity and stability of Algeria and its secular-democratic set up. After election as President of Algeria in 1999 you launched a statesmanlike political programme of National Civil Concord under which you won over the Islamic insurgents and re-established peace in your country. We applaud the imaginative and firm policy you pursued in dealing with the insurgency that had caused thousands and thousands of deaths and casualties to your people. Excellency, we have been facing a similar fundamentalist and terrorist threat in Kashmir to counter which we have been compelled to take firm measures. However, two months ago our Prime Minister declared a unilateral cease-fire in Kashmir which has been further extended only the other day.

It was a bold and risky step, but we hope that the militants and those who support terrorism in Kashmir from outside, will see our generous and peaceful intentions and reciprocate by ceasing violence and terrorist attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere in India so that the situation can be resolved through peaceful dialogue. Excellency, we do appreciate the sympathy and the understanding that Algeria has shown on this question. Mr. President, we are fully aware of the efforts you have made for nation-building by healing old wounds, and welding together different groups and strands of opinion in your country into a new partnership. By your policy of reconciliation and reconstruction you have provided to your people the vision of a new Algeria. We are glad that to-day our old bilateral ties are being revived and are poised for all-round expansion. The economies of India and Algeria have certain comparative advantages, resources and complementarities which can be exploited to promote economic co-operation between our two countries. A number of agreements have been signed which hold out the promise of extensive economic, scientific – technological co-operation between us.

I am confident, Mr. President, your visit will accelerate this co-operation. I believe that intensified co-operation between India and Algeria will give added content to our age-old friendship with the African and the Arab peoples, and a new fillip to the non-aligned movement. We are committed to the aims of the non-alignment movement for peace and disarmament and a just and equitable world order. Let me end, Excellency, by saying once again how happy we are to have you and your distinguished delegation with us, on this historic occasion of this Golden Jubilee of our Republic Day. Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I now invite you to join me in raising a toast to:

  • the good health and well-being of His Excellency Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria;
  • the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Algeria; and
  • the everlasting friendship and cooperation between India and Algeria.

Thank you

Jai Hind