BY SRI K. R. NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF
MR. FLAVIO COTTI, PRESIDENT OF SWISS CONFEDERATION
NEW DELHI, TUESDAY,NOVEMBER 24, 1998
Excellency President Flavio Cotti,
gives me great pleasure to welcome you Mr. President and Madame Cotti,
to India. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to the distinguished
members of your delegation. Your visit, Mr. President, is the first
to India, by a Swiss President and therefore a landmark event in our
bilateral relationship. It also coincides quite appropriately with the
50th anniversary of the 'Indo-Swiss Treaty of Friendship', which pledged
"perpetual peace and unalterable friendship" between our two countries.
We do believe that the interaction which is being initiated with your
visit will provide a new momentum and dynamism to our bilateral relations
and to our relations with the continent of Europe.
Excellency, as one of the oldest democracies, has been a model for many
others. Your democratic structures and processes, have enabled popular
participation at the basic level. We have always taken a keen interest
in the Swiss model, since India, like Switzerland, is home to a diversity
of religious and linguistic groups, the successful synthesis of which
is the key to a flourishing democracy.
our two countries have a long-standing economic and commercial relationship.
This interaction, has been rewarding for peoples of both our countries.
I trust that your visit, along with your business delegation, to the
bustling metropolitan cities of Mumbai and Bangalore would have helped
in opening up further opportunities for enhanced and mutually beneficial
had earlier in this decade chosen to embark on the path of economic
liberalisation and integration in the global economy. We have undertaken
a series of economic reforms, aimed at deregulating the economy and
to stimulate the entry of foreign enterprise and investment. Our economic
fundamentals to-day are strong. Our experience has, however, shown that
the success of economic reforms will depend on the creation of the necessary
infrastructure in the country. We are aware of Switzerland's strengths
in a number of key industrial areas and look forward to greater participation
from your companies in the development of our infrastructure, in joint
ventures and in expanding our commercial relationship. We do hope that
in the interdependent and integrated world of to-day the internationally
accepted principles of the WTO will prevail over the protectionist tendencies
reappearing in some parts of the world.
we believe in a pluralistic world order, where no nation or group of
nations dominate any other. It is our firm conviction, that every nation
has the legitimate right to peace, security and strategic autonomy.
While taking the minimum steps required to safeguard our national security,
we have voluntarily declared a moratorium on nuclear tests and expressed
our willingness to negotiate a no-first use agreement. Excellency, I
would like to remind the international community that, we were, in fact,
one of the first countries, to call for a complete ban on nuclear tests.
Our unwavering commitment to nuclear disarmament and genuine non-proliferation
has remained steadfast over the years and will continue to do so.
we are committed to peace and prosperity in South Asia through the institutional
means of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. We are
also engaged in a composite, comprehensive dialogue with our neighbours
for resolving our outstanding differences amicably and peacefully. We
are hopeful that this process will be fruitful.
has always valued its relationship with Switzerland. Our continuous
interaction with your country in various spheres has brought our nations
closer. Our relations have been marked by mutual understanding and co-operation.
Your visit, Mr. President is a strong signal of the desire of our two
countries, to enrich this relationship further, and to create new avenues
for partnership. We look forward to working with you towards the achievement
of this objective.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I request you to join me in proposing a toast
To the health and happiness of the President of the Swiss Confederation,
H.E. Mr. Flavio Cotti and Madame Cotti;
To the progress and prosperity of the friendly people of Switzerland;
To the enrichment of relations between India and Switzerland