BY SHRI K R NARAYANAN, PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR
OF MR. ALYAKSANDR LUKASHENKA, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS
NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 27, 1997
me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to Your Excellency and your
delegation on your first ever visit to India.
takes place during a particularly memorable year for us, when India
celebrates half a century of its independence. Since those early days,
democracy and democratic institutions have flourished and matured and
India to-day is the largest and one of the most vibrant democracies
in the world.
we have devoted ourselves, since independence, to the task of building
up social and economic democracy in our country. From a backward colonial
economy fifty years ago India has emerged as a modern state achieving
self-sufficiency in food grains, extensive and diversified industrial
production, and a considerable reservoir of highly qualified and trained
manpower. On the basis of these achievements India has been engaged
in a process of economic liberalization and opening up to the world,
keeping in mind the specific conditions and requirements of our country
-- a process, which we expect, would enable India to emerge as an industrial
and technological power in the foreseeable future. In the field of international
affairs we have stood for nonalignment and peaceful co-existence among
nations and worked for a new and just world order based on peace and
we remember with admiration the heroic resistance of the people of Belarus
against the Nazi invaders during the Second World War. We equally admire
the perseverance and hard work of the Belarusian people in reconstructing
their once war-ravaged economy. More recently, independent Belarus has
embarked on an important new path of nation building. We believe that
under your guidance Belarus will emerge as a significant factor in contributing
to stability and peace in the region.
the ties between our two countries and peoples are characterized by
goodwill, friendship and warmth. With the advent of democracy in Belarus,
our traditional friendship has acquired a new dimension based on shared
values, beliefs and aspirations. The changes now underway in our countries
provide new opportunities for further expansion of our economic, scientific,
technological and cultural ties. I am confident that Your Excellency's
visit to India will give a new impetus to economic cooperation and to
our bilateral trade. Particularly I am happy that intensive interaction
has been taking place between our two countries in the field of science
and technology. These contacts provide valuable links which can be further
expanded and strengthened.
several important agreements have been signed during your visit to India.
These agreements will further consolidate the existing framework of
our bilateral cooperation and it would be our endeavour to build upon
this framework in a comprehensive manner. While your stay in India has
been short it has, nevertheless, given us an opportunity to convey to
you the warmth and affection that exists in India for the people of
Belarus. Your visit will undoubtedly open fresh vistas for cooperation
between our two countries. I trust that your stay in India has been
a pleasant and memorable one.
now request all present to join me in a toast: -
- to the
health and happiness of President Lukashenka; -
- to the
cooperation and friendship between India and Belarus; and
- to the
well-being of the peoples of our two countries.