BY SHRI K.R.NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, WHILE ACCEPTING
THE CREDENTIALS FROM MR. P.H.C. KOCH, AMBASSADOR-DESIGNATE
OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS TO INDIA.
NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 21, 1998
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
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.