International Affairs


Your Excellency President Sam Nujoma,

Madame Kovambo Nujoma and

The Distinguished members of the Namibian delegation,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure that my wife and I extend to you a warm welcome, on behalf of the Government and the people of India. We welcome you, Excellency, as one of the leaders of the struggle for African freedom and as a good and ardent friend of India. Each visit of yours to our country has provided us an occasion to recall the memories of our common struggle against colonialism and apartheid and to proclaim our solidarity in the new struggle for a just world order in which as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru envisaged at the dawn of our independence "there is free co-operation of free peoples, and no class or group exploits another".

Excellency, I had the privilege of having been present at Windhoek in March 1990 together with our Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a part of the delegation headed by the then Prime Minister of India to felicitate you at that historic moment when South West Africa stepped on to the world stage as free and independent Namibia. It was the culmination of the long and heroic struggle of your brave people under the leadership of Your Excellency.

Over nine years have passed since that eventful day. During this relatively short period we have seen how democracy has grown and taken root, and how a tolerant pluralist society has evolved in your country. We have watched the primacy you have given to the rule of law. We have followed the pragmatic steps you have taken to build a modern economy on the foundation of upgraded infra-structure. Your policies have already begun to give rich dividends. Walvis Bay, the old colonial outpost, has become a bustling economic centre and Namibia has been adjudged one of the four most competitive economies in Africa. We have admired the policy of reconciliation you have pursued and we have rejoiced to see Namibia become a veritable "island of peace and harmony" in Southern Africa. These achievements are the fruits of the quiet democratic revolution that has been ushered in under your wise and imaginative leadership.

It is a gladdening augury for our future co-operation that the bilateral relations between our two countries have grown and expanded since 1990. Excellency, I am more than optimistic about the future of our many-sided co-operation. There are several areas in which India's developmental experiences can perhaps be of direct relevance to Namibia. I recall in this context some of our achievements in Agriculture, particularly in foodgrains production and in the medium and small scale sectors of industry. We have a host of technologies that are appropriate to the conditions of developing countries. We have been engaged in co-operation with Namibia in the development of human resources and may I reiterate our commitment to support Namibia in this and other fields of development.

In the international arena we have worked together in the past for the liberation of Asia and Africa from the shackles of colonialism. We have also worked together for world peace and made a difference to the final outcome in the end of the cold war. The world has to-day changed and is changing. The old phenomenon of bi-polar world rivalry and conflict has been superceded by signs of an emerging unipolar world order. In this context the developing and non-aligned countries have a role to play in asserting the multi-polarity of the world and striving to preserve the individual identities and the essential independence of nations. The co-operation among developing nations, the so called South-South co-operation has become an essential factor in the balance of the new world order. India sees the bilateral co-operation between India, Namibia and other developing countries as the fundamental starting point of a larger South-South Co-operation. The revival and strengthening of the policy of non-alignment and the solidarity of the non-aligned movement is an indispensable element of multi-polarity in the world. In this context we are happy to note that in the international arena the voice of Namibia is heard with attention and respect.

We are delighted to see Namibia playing its role in the Security Council. The imminent assumption of the Presidentship of the U.N. General Assembly by your Foreign Minister, His Excellency Gurirab is both a recognition of the importance of Namibia in African and world affairs and a fine manifestation of the emergence of democratic and assertive Africa. We recall the sense of fulfilment when in 1953 India's delegate Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit was elected President of the U.N. General Assembly. Our sense of satisfaction would not be less when a Namibian would be chosen as the President of the United Nations.

There is a marked convergence of outlook and views between our two countries on world issues. Your support for India's candidature of the expanded Security Council is of great value for us. We are also grateful to you for the understanding shown for our security concerns.

We meet to-day, Excellency, at the threshold of a new millennium. We have jointly shouldered the challenges of the past. We have to now work to fulfil the potential of the future. In this endeavour we see in you not only a representative of Africa but a spokesman of the new and more equal world order that both our countries are committed to bring about.

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

- the health and happiness of President Sam Nujoma and Madame Nujoma
- peace, prosperity and happiness for the people of Namibia; and
- ever-lasting India-Namibia friendship.

Thank you

Jai Hind