International Affairs


Your Excellency President Compaore,
Madame Compaore,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My wife and I have great pleasure to welcome Your Excellency and Madame Compaore to India once again. We welcome you as the distinguished leader of a forward-looking and resurgent nation. In the last four years, we have been privileged to receive you on three occasions. The frequency of our high level exchanges reflects the close relationship of trust and friendship between our countries and peoples.

India and Burkina Faso share historical experiences and similar perceptions of the world. We have stood together in the common struggle to end the age of colonialism. As India celebrates the Golden Jubilee of its independence this year, we also rejoice in the emancipation of all Africa.

Over the last fifty years, India's relations with the countries of Africa have been guided by a vision of a common destiny and by an unwavering commitment to South-South cooperation. It is this spirit that has been at the core of our multi-faceted relations with Burkina Faso which have strengthened in recent years.

The Integrated Agricultural and Rural Development Project has emerged as a symbol of our friendship and co-operation. With our long experience in agriculture and particularly in the application of science and technology for increasing agricultural productivity, India is ready to enhance its cooperation with Burkina Faso in this key sector, vital for our common goal of economic self-reliance. Though our bilateral trade remains small, the signing of a Trade Agreement in 1995 and the setting up of the Joint Commission earlier, augur well for more intensive trade and investment partnerships and economic exchanges in several areas including, small industries, transport, mining and the health sector, among others. The development of human resources is another crucial area for extensive cooperation under the aegis of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme.

Your Excellency, the process of economic reforms underway in our two countries have contributed to the deepening and strengthening of our bilateral ties. Increased contacts at all levels and the strengthening of our bilateral institutional consultative mechanisms can vastly augment our capacity for cooperative exchanges. Our people can together demonstrate that developing countries are capable of standing on their own feet. Our partnership can truly be a model of South-South cooperation.

Excellency, your country is playing an important role in promoting peace and stability as well as economic cooperation in your region. Within the Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS), your personal efforts have contributed in significant measure to the improvement of the situation in Liberia. We are very happy that Burkina Faso is hosting the Summit of the Organisation of African Unity in 1998 when your country would assume the Chairmanship of this prestigious organisation.

In our own region, South Asia, we are engaged in forging new and durable understandings with our neighbours, and in strengthening the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). We are convinced that the fostering of a climate of mutual trust and harmony would enable all the countries of the region to reap for their peoples the benefits of genuinely participative regional cooperation.

In multilateral fora such as the United Nations and the Nonaligned Movement, Burkina Faso and India share similar perceptions on several regional and international issues. India appreciates the support extended by Burkina Faso on many issues which affect us vitally. Both our countries support the restructuring and greater democratization of the United Nations and in particular, the Security Council making it more representative of present day realities and accommodating the aspirations of developing countries. The recent Ministerial meeting of the Nonaligned Movement in Delhi reflected our common desire to revitalize the movement and transform it into an effective instrument for the promotion of the collective interests of developing countries and for fashioning a more just and equitable world order.

Excellency, I am confident that your visit to India will give a new impetus to our bilateral friendship and our co-operation in international affairs.

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

- to the health and happiness of His Excellency, President Blaise Compaore and Madame Compaore;
- to the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Burkina Faso; and
- to abiding friendship between our two countries.

Thank you

Jai Hind