International Affairs


Your Excellency President Kwasniewski,
Madame Kwasniewska,
Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

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.

Excellency, 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 decades.

We remember 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.

Excellency, 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.

Excellency, 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.

Excellency, 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,

enjoyable 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.

Thank you

Jai Hind