International Affairs


Your Excellency Mr. Prime Minister,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The sentiments expressed by you Mr. Prime Minister, are characteristic of the warmth and friendship experienced by me, my wife, members of my family and my delegation during our stay in your beautiful country. This visit has proved to be extremely productive and enriching for us. We were charmed by the natural beauty and the rich cultural heritage of your country, impressed by your remarkable industrial and economic achievements and above all touched by the friendship that greeted us everywhere.

During this visit we have also learnt a great deal about the significant role your country plays in European developments. It is only appropriate that today a worthy son of Luxembourg heads the European Commission. The numerous institutions of the European Union hosted by Luxembourg symbolise your critical role.

We recall with pleasure the visit of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Henri, accompanied by the Secretary of State for External Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, to India in May 1995. That visit opened up new avenues for cooperation between our two countries. We look forward to your visiting India to carry forward the existing momentum in our relationship.

Excellency, as you are aware, socio-economic transformation in India in recent times have been profound, leaving no segment of the Indian society untouched. The social upsurge, witnessed in India, has been channelised through a democratic and multi-party system, to provide for development that is both stable and equitable. Our policies are consensus-based and are not subject to sudden reversals. Our democratic system provides the sound basis for a healthy, rapidly modernising economy which answers to the basic urges of a vast society. It also ensures that the basic resilience and transparency are preserved.

While the State in India continues to play a decisive role in key areas, India has a dynamic private sector, an extensive financial infrastructure, a highly developed marketing, sales and technical services network, sophisticated legal and accounting systems and a vibrant capital market. This together with our technological base and human resources can form a sound basis for closer economic interaction between our two countries.

With the economic reforms that have been brought into operation in India since 1991, our industrial policy has made private investments, including foreign investments, more simple, liberal, transparent - and rewarding. External trade has been freed of various controls and the tariffs steadily reduced from 350% in 1991 to a peak duty rate of 40%. Import controls on few of the remaining consumer products are also proposed to be freed within a fixed time frame. As a result of all this our foreign trade as a percentage of GDP has increased from 14.1% in 1991 to 22% in 1996-97.

The opportunity provided by this climate is what India would like the European Union and a country like Luxembourg to make use of, for mutual benefit.

The democratic values, which we share with Luxembourg, create a common bond between us. Our growing relationship, however, given its potential, needs to be diversified to embrace all sectors of governmental and non-governmental activity.

Our dialogue, between two democratic, pluralistic, liberal and transparent societies would also play a stabilising role, in international affairs. We look forward to cooperation with Luxembourg on various global issues of common concern especially in seeking the creation of a stable and equitable world order. A closer interaction between the delegations of our two countries at various multilateral fora would contribute towards the achievement of this objective.

Excellency, we look forward to an era of closer cooperation between our two countries in bilateral and multilateral contexts and to the realization of the cherished hope of creating a peaceful and democratic world order.

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

- to their Royal Highnesses;
- to the Grand Ducal Family;
- to His Excellency Prime Minister Jean- Claude Junker;
- and to the happiness and well-being of the people of Luxembourg.

Thank you

Jai Hind