International Affairs



I have great pleasure in welcoming you to India and in accepting the Letters of Credence from Her Majesty Queen Beatrix designating you as Her Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of India. I would also like to take this opportunity to convey to Her Majesty our best wishes from me personally and from the Government and people of India.

You assume your responsibilities here at a time when India has just completed fifty years of her independence. As you have remarked, India is indeed a unique country - an ancient civilisation and a modern nation. We have made a conscious effort to blend the rich variety of our country into a composite whole, continuing to nurture the pluralistic character of our society. India has established a strong secular and democratic institutional framework. Respect for different faiths is deeply rooted in the ethos of India. Independent India has preserved its multi-religious and multi-cultural character. We also remain committed to defending the rights of the individual and have established an elaborate institutional and legal framework to address the special concerns and rights of the vulnerable and minority sections of our society.

In the last five decades, India has also built up considerable industrial capacity and our scientists have achieved remarkable success in several high technology areas - from information technology to genetics, space research to atomic energy. Although our population has trebled in the last five decades, we have been able to achieve food security for our people. Formidable challenges, however, still, lie ahead in terms of meeting our growing infrastructural requirements. Over the last decade, India has embarked on a course of opening its economy to the outside world. Our economy offers vast opportunities for mutually beneficial co-operation for our partners. We are engaged in a steady process further improving the environment for economic activities, academic pursuit and technological research.

Mr. Ambassador, at the dawn of the new millennium, we are at the threshold of the Information age, which has effectively brought the 'global village' into existence. The fact that destinies of all nations and peoples are interlinked as never before, provides a realistic basis for a real co-operation for larger and common interest.

Globalisation has meant that reverberations of any tremor in one part of the world are also, inevitably, felt in geographically distant regions. An increasingly global view of security has been necessiated by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with global reach. The present world order, however, serves to perpetuate inequality in matters of security. In an increasingly inter-dependent world, global security is possible only within an international system that is based on just, democratic and non-discriminatory principles. As regards non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, our stand has been consistent and principled. We stand for horizontal as well as vertical non-proliferation, and believe that only through phased reduction and elimination of all nuclear weapons can peace be made secure for all humanity.

Mr. Ambassador, the Netherlands is an important economic partner for India. Our economic linkages in terms of trade and investment are growing. We appreciate the co-operation which has existed between our two countries in the areas of development activities. We look forward to a further strengthening of our ties in various fields in the coming years, based on a relationship of mutual respect and understanding.

I am happy to note that this assignment also fulfills a personal wish for you and your tenure in India will be fulfilling both professionally and personally for you. Mr. Ambassador, I would like to wish you and your family a happy and successful stay in India and would like to assure you of the fullest co-operation of my government in the performance of your duties.

Thank you

Jai Hind