BY SHRI K.R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF
MR. ALEKSANDER KWASNIEWSKI, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND
AND MADAM KWASNIEWSKA
NEW DELHI, JANUARY 9, 1998
It is with
the greatest pleasure that I extend a warm welcome to Your Excellency
and Madame Kwasniewska, as well as to the members of your delegation.
Your state visit takes place during a landmark year for us, as India celebrates
the fiftieth anniversary of its independence.
contacts between India and Poland go back several centuries. A number
of Polish writers, soldiers and missionaries have visited India, and some
of them have made India their home. Your scholars have translated Sanskrit
classics into Polish as early as in the first half of the 19th century,
while a chair for Sanskrit was set up at the University of Cracow in 1893.
Research in Indian languages and literature has been pursued for many
decades at the Universities of Warsaw, Cracow and Poznan, and a strong
tradition of Indological studies continues to flourish in Poland. In turn,
a part of Poland's rich cultural heritage is preserved in India in the
exquisite paintings of Norblin which grace the Umaid Bhavan Palace in
Jodhpur. A stunning oil painting of Mahatma Gandhi's assassination by
the Polish painter Feliks Topolski has adorned Rashtrapati Bhavan for
with deep respect and admiration the extreme courage and fortitude displayed
by the people of Poland against the Nazis during the Second World War.
Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru had spoken out in support of the heroic
struggle waged by the Polish people against the Nazi aggressors. In those
difficult days, India also had the privilege to provide a home in Jamnagar
to over one thousand orphans from Poland.
committed to democracy and secularism as India is, it has made considerable
socio-economic progress over the five decades since its independence.
Backed by a national consensus, India is today pursuing a path of economic
liberalisation with a view to more rapid, just and equitable economic
development. Our steady progress gives us confidence that India will emerge
as a major economic power of the twenty first century.
We have watched
with friendly interest the impressive and sustained progress which Poland
has made in recent years through political change and economic reforms.
The advent and maturing of democracy in Poland has brought us even closer
together. We welcome the economic reforms undertaken by Poland and its
efforts for economic integration at regional and global levels.
Indo-Polish ties have matured over the years into a warm relationship
based on friendship and goodwill. We regard Poland as a traditionally
important economic partner in Central Europe. We believe that we should
build new bridges of co-operation in the economic field and, through joint
efforts, further enhance our bilateral trade and economic ties making
them truly reflective of the new strengths and capabilities of our economies.
It is satisfying that a large delegation of Polish industrialists and
businessmen has accompanied Your Excellency to India.
On the international
front, India remains fully committed to nonalignment and the peaceful
co-existence of nations. It will continue to work with other members of
the international community towards securing a new and just world order,
based on peace and disarmament and respect for the sovereignty, territorial
integrity and sovereign equality of all nations.
I would like to take this opportunity to convey through you the sentiments
of warmth and affection that exist in India for the people of Poland.
I am confident that your visit will be a major event in our growing bilateral
friendship. I wish you, Madame Kwasniewska, and your delegation a pleasant,
and memorable stay in India.
May I now
request all present to join me in a toast: - to the health and happiness
of President Kwasniewski and Madame Kwasniewska; - to the cooperation
and friendship between India and Poland; and - to the well being of the
peoples of our two countries.