BY SHRI K. R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR
OF MR. EMIL CONSTANTINESCU, PRESIDENT OF ROMANIA
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 17, 1997
me great pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to Your Excellency and
to the members of your delegation on your first State visit to India.
you as the Head of State of a friendly country and an outstanding scholar
of international renown. Your Excellency's accomplishments in the field
of geology, law, philosophy and literature and as Rector of the University
of Bucharest, the oldest university in South Eastern Europe, were well-known
long before you assumed the high office of the President of Romania.
By conferring on you earlier today the degree of Doctor of Science [Honoris
Causa], the University of Delhi has recognised both an esteemed friend
of India and an eminent academician.
Indo-Romanian contacts go back many centuries. The translations of our
ancient texts as well as the works of Rabindranath Tagore into the Romanian
language which had enriched the cultural bonds between our countries
were reinforced by the visit of Tagore to Bucharest in 1926. Romanian
scholars have helped in interpreting Indian thought to the Western world.
The great Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu, was deeply influenced by Indian
philosophy. The following lines from his poem "Dacian Prayer"
contain echoes from the "Song of Creation" in the Rig Veda:-
death did not exist, nor yet eternity Before the seed of life had first
set the living free When yesterday was nothing, and time had not begun
And `one' included all things, and all was less than `one'"
our age-old historical and cultural links and our strong commitment
to the shared principles and ideals of democracy provide a firm foundation
for strengthening and enhancing our bilateral relations. The economic
reforms undertaken by our two countries have thrown up new opportunities
for co-operation in our mutual benefit. In this context we welcome the
high level business delegation accompanying Your Excellency. I am sure
that the exchanges they are having with their Indian counterparts would
lead to new partnerships between our business communities. With the
revival of the Indo-Romanian Joint Commission and the Joint Business
Council and the signing today of an agreement on the promotion and protection
of investments, I believe, we have established a durable framework for
our economic co-operation.
It is heartening that there has been a considerable
increase in bilateral trade in recent years. If I may say so, India
today offers perhaps the largest market for Romanian goods in Asia.
The direct link between India and South Eastern Europe provided by Romanian
airlines is an important factor in facilitating bilateral interaction.
The cultural exchange programme and the agreement for co-operation in
science and technology, which have also been signed today, would provide
a further dimension to the relations between our two countries. All
these have been underpinned by the growing contacts between our two
the end of the cold war has created new opportunities for forging closer
and better relations between nations. We in India have taken bold initiatives
in promoting friendship and co-operation with our neighbouring countries.
Just as you have embarked upon the Black Sea Economic Co-operation in
your region, we are engaged in pushing ahead with the South Asian Association
for Regional Co-operation in which is involved the peace and prosperity
of over one billion people in this part of the world. We are determined
to eliminate from our land poverty and underdevelopment and also address
new dangers such as international terrorism and drug-trafficking.
the task before us, as we step into the next millenium is to strive
collectively to tackle these problems. Within multilateral fora such
as the United Nations, our two countries have cooperated to address
issues of international concern. Both our countries support the democratisation
of the United Nations, and particularly the Security Council, to make
it more representative of present day realities. India appreciates the
support of Romania on issues of vital interest to us.
Guests and Friends, I would now like to draw your attention to a happy
coincidence. His Excellency has chosen to be in India, in the great
city of Mumbai, on the 19th of November. That day happens to be his
birthday. I am sure that all those present here will join me in conveying
to you in advance our heartiest congratulations and very best wishes
on this forthcoming anniversary.
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in a toast:
- to the
health and happiness of His Excellency President Constantinescu;
ever-growing friendship and co-operation between India and Romania;
- to the
well being of the peoples of our two countries.