International Affairs


Your Royal Highness the Grand Duke,

Your Royal Highness the Grand Duchess,

Madame la Bourgmestre,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to thank you, Madame la Bourgmestre, for the warmth of your welcome and for the sentiments of friendship expressed by you. I consider it an honour that the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess have also chosen to grace this occasion.

It is a privilege to be in your city which so artfully blends the riches of its historic past with the efficient amenities of modern urban life. Its unique architectural grandeur and historical charm have captivated all its visitors and we are no exception. Historically, Luxembourg has been at the very heart of Europe and remains so, today, as the capital of a very vibrant European Union.

A noble son of the city, Robert Schuman, one of the founders of the present European institutional architecture made a unique contribution to the traditional role of Luxembourg. Quite in keeping with this national genius, your city, Madame la Bourgmestre, now represents a post-industrial society at the vanguard of the technological progress taking place in Europe.

I am also delighted to be at the City Hall and to have the opportunity to familiarise myself with the functioning of the City institutions and the operation of democracy at the local level. India too has very old traditions of local self-government. The panchayat system in ancient India was democracy at the grassroots functioning on the basis of consensus. In a modernized form this old institution to-day finds place in our Constitution for the governance of our villages, towns and cities. You would be interested to know that in India more than three million representatives of the people are elected to local bodies - villages, towns and cities - on the basis of adult franchise of which, according to a constitutional provision, one-third are women. They keep our democracy alive and vibrant, and provide the crucial consensus that exists even in coalition politics, establishing a political kinship with Luxembourg and other countries in Europe.

India's economic parameters remain strong despite the recent turbulence in our Asian neighbourhood. An indication of such strength was recently evident when non-resident Indians from all over the world came forward enthusiastically, within a matter of weeks, to invest in 'Resurgent India Bonds' to the tune of over US dollars 4 billion. India offers excellent opportunities for foreign investment, which provides a basis for our relationship to be mutually enriching. Our entrepreneurs would be happy to avail the impressive and sophisticated capital and technological base in your city.

I am pleased to learn that more and more Indian visitors are coming to Luxembourg. This is a trend worth actively encouraging as such interaction would go a long way in enhancing mutual understanding between our two peoples. I am also happy to know that the Indian community here, though small, is making a useful contribution to Luxembourgeois society in diverse ways.

The contemporary international environment holds promise for the future in terms of greater freedom, economic well being and the utilisation of the capabilities of our people to the fullest. We cannot, however, be unmindful of the dangers posed by globalisation such as that of international terrorism and criminal networks straddling countries and continents. Given this background, it is of importance that dialogue between democratic, liberal and transparent societies is maintained and further strengthened. We must enrich further the warm relationship that exists between our two countries. I see in the warmth of the reception accorded here today, promises of greater cooperation and friendship between us.

Thank you

Jai Hind