BY SHRI K.R.NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, WHILE ACCEPTING
CREDENTIALS FROM MR. PHILIP Mc DONAGH, AMBASSADOR-DESIGNATE
OF IRELAND TO INDIA
NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 12,
I have great pleasure
in welcoming you to India and in accepting the Letter of Credence from the
President of Ireland accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
of Ireland to India.
I would like to convey
to Her Excellency Mary McAleese, the President of Ireland my best wishes
and thank Her Excellency for the kind greetings she has sent through you.
India deeply values its
friendly relations with Ireland. The bonds of sentiment which bind India
and Ireland, evolved during the political struggle for freedom in our two
countries. The leaders of our respective freedom movements drew inspiration
from each other and enjoyed mutual sympathy and support. The contribution
of Irishmen and women to India during the period of British rule is well
recognised in our country. We especially recall Dr. Annie Besant, who made
a remarkable contribution to our political re-awakening. The poetry of W.B.
Yeats, who was a friend and admirer of Tagore and was influenced by Indian
mysticism has been read with avidity by students of literature in our country
over the generations. The language of poetry and common values emanating
from our political struggle for freedom and also from our spiritual heritage
which transcend the barriers of time and space, have helped to bridge the
geographical distance between our two countries.
We in India, recall the
visit of your distinguished former President, Mary Robinson earlier this
year in her capacity as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Her earlier
visit in 1993 as President of Ireland was an important landmark in our bilateral
relationship and had served to consolidate cooperation between our two countries.
I am confident that the understanding between our two countries will grow
stronger in the coming years.
The economic reform programme
that India embarked upon in 1991 has made significant progress. This irreversible
process has acquired greater scope and content over the last eight years.
India's economic reforms offer prospects for further enhancement of trade
and investment linkages between our two countries. Ireland could make use
of the many advantages offered by India's huge domestic market and the availability
of skilled manpower at reasonable cost. India could also be a good regional
base for Irish firms to develop their business prospects in Asia.
We share with Ireland
a commitment to the principles of democracy and individual freedom as well
as peaceful co-existence among the nations of the world. I am sure that
we will continue to work together on the basis of shared values towards
a peaceful and equitable world order.
As a member of the EU,
Ireland has been sensitive to India's concerns within the European Community.
The EU is India's largest trading partner, the second biggest source of
approved Foreign Direct Investment and a major partner for technology and
development assistance. We are confident that Ireland will continue to show
understanding of our concerns in the European Union.
We are happy to welcome
you and your wife to India. It is, indeed, a pleasure to welcome her to
the land of her birth as the wife of the Ambassador of Ireland.
I wish you, Excellency,
a successful tenure in India and assure you of the fullest cooperation of
my Government in the performance of your duties.