BY SHRI K R NARAYANAN, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF MR. GUNTIS ULMANIS, PRESIDENT OF THE
REPUBLIC OF LATVIA
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 20, 1997
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.