International Affairs

NEW DELHI, MAY 10, 2001

Your Excellency President Rakhmonov,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have great pleasure to welcome to India Your Excellency and the distinguished members of your delegation from the Republic of Tajikistan. We have warm memories of your visits in 1995 and 1999, and have been keenly looking forward to welcoming you again in our country. India’s cultural ties with your country go back to the very dawn of history. Excellency, in you we see a valued friend who has always shown much personal commitment and sensitivity to India and its people.

The close friendship between India and Tajikistan has not been a matter of chance. Our societies have been built on the foundation of tolerance and secularism. Unfortunately, these principles do not have universal acceptance in practice as yet. If we look across our respective frontiers, we find a turbulent sea of hatred and intolerance raging around us. We have a common stake in protecting civil society in both our countries against this raging intolerance and fundamentalist fanaticism and I believe, Excellency, that we have the political will and capability to face these threats.

Both India and Tajikistan understand the need for defending and the values of freedom, territorial integrity and the inviolability of our frontiers. We greatly admire, Excellency, your tireless efforts to promote peace and tranquillity in your region, and for building a pluralistic and modern society in Tajikistan emerging out of a civil war.

Your country, like mine, has been a target of the forces of terrorism and fundamentalism, provoked and sustained from across the borders. In the recent period, nature has also been harsh on your country. But the people of Tajikistan are talented and hard-working. Your efforts to put economic development into motion and your achievements so far in the face of adversities are, therefore, so much more commendable. We congratulate you for the successful efforts you have made in bringing about national reconciliation in your country.

Your present visit to my country would provide a strong impulse to our bilateral relations. Economic activities are where we need to direct our future energies and endeavours. The Joint Declaration that has been signed today outlines the future course of our partnership.

The current international environment remains one of immense complexity. As technology, information, finances and people rapidly cross borders, so do terrorism, drugs and illegal weapons. And yet, the situation is not one of despair. Friendship and partnership between countries such as India and Tajikistan have become increasingly more relevant, and would exert positive influence on the evolving international order. Tajikistan occupies an important position in Central Asia which has been historically the strategic heart of Asia. We are hopeful that through co-operation among the countries of Central Asia and among the great countries like Russia, China and India we would be able to stem the evil tide of fundamentalist terrorism that has arisen in the breeding ground between Afghanistan and Pakistan and is threatening the whole region.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, I request you to join me in a toast:
  • to the health and personal well-being of His Excellency President Rakhmonov
  • to the prosperity and happiness of the people of Tajikistan
  • to the ever-lasting friendship between our two countries and peoples.
Thank you

Jai Hind