International Affairs


Your Excellency President Ulmanis,
Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Your Excellency and members of your delegation on your first ever State Visit to India. We are particularly happy to have you with us at a time when India celebrates the Golden Jubilee of her Independence.

Excellency, during the last fifty years, the people of India have sought to build a society based on freedom, justice and the values of tolerance and respect for human rights. We have successfully synthesised a multiplicity of diverse ethnic, religious and linguistic groups into one nation committed to the ideals of democracy, secularism and social justice.

Indian democracy has not only secured for the people the freedom and liberty of the individual, but is dedicated to the gigantic task of the social and economic development of a nation of nearly one billion people. Over the last five decades India has recorded considerable progress. From a stagnant colonial economy at the time of our independence, we have reached a stage where we are poised to emerge as an industrial and technological power in the not too distant future. Largely, as a result of our indigenous efforts we have achieved significant breakthroughs in the fields of agriculture, industry and science and technology. While we take pride in our achievements and successes, we are conscious that much more remains to be done. We are today engaged in a process of liberalisation and opening up to the world for more rapid and, at the same time, more equitable economic development.

In the international sphere, we remain fully committed to the fundamental principles of respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and sovereign equality of all nations, big and small. Independence of judgement and action remains an important cornerstone of Indian foreign policy. Deeply committed to nonalignment and the peaceful coexistence of nations, India has worked with the international community for the emergence of a new and just world order based on peace and disarmament.

Excellency, the commitment shown by Latvia in recent years to building its socio-economic system on the basis of democratic and liberal principles has been impressive. We have observed with friendly interest the efforts of the Latvian leadership and people for nation building and the transformation of their society. We wish you all success in your endeavours. We believe that under your able leadership Latvia will make its due contribution to the further strengthening of peace and stability in the region.

Excellency, in the light of the reforms being carried out in our two countries, we are convinced that we could take full advantage of the new opportunities to intensify our cooperation in the fields of trade and investment. I am particularly happy that we have taken together several initiatives towards this objective.

Excellency, we are aware of the popularity that Indian culture, language, literature, music, dance and the arts enjoy in Latvia. The historical linkages between Sanskrit and the Latvian language are well known. Mutual understanding, appreciation and familiarity of each other's cultures would no doubt bring our two peoples even closer together. On our part I should like to assure you of our commitment to expanding our interaction in the field of culture between our two countries.

Excellency, I take this opportunity to convey the sentiments of warmth and affection that exist in India for the people of Latvia. I am confident that your visit will be a major event in our growing bilateral friendship. I wish you and your delegation a pleasant, enjoyable and memorable stay in India.

May I now request all present to join me in a toast:

- to the health and happiness of President Ulmanis;
- to the cooperation and friendship between India and Latvia; and
- to the well being of the peoples of our two countries.

Thank you

Jai Hind