Your Excellency Dr. Kaire Mbuende
Your Excellency Dr. Patrick Gomes
Dear Colleagues, Ambassadors of ACP member-States
It is indeed an honour and privilege to join you on this auspicious ACP Day- and to address the distinguished Members of African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.
I thank H.E Secretary general Patrick Gomes and the Members of the ACP Group for this generous gesture of friendship and trust and I assure you that we in India heartily appreciate and reciprocate these sentiments.
I am happy to recognize H.E Ambassador Gonzalo Gutierrez Reinel of Peru and representatives of associate key Africa-related organisations and the European Commission.
Ladies and gentlemen,
With Africa, our relations have been founded on a deep political affinity and solidarity- nurtured over the decades.
We have shared a very painful – but eventually successful- common struggle for freedom from foreign rule.
It was in South Africa that Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation conceived the principles of Satyagraha-the nonviolent resistance that he led against colonial rule, racial discrimination and oppression.
After India gained its independence in 1947, it was leading the voice in the united nations for de-colonization.
India’s solidarity with African nations has been a basic tenet of our foreign policy.
The first UN resolution against apartheid in South Africa was sponsored by India. And we are grateful for the support and solidarity that we have received from African nations in the UN and other multilateral organizations.
Without the strong voice and commitment of African countries, the non-aligned movement would never have become the powerful force for international peace, cooperation and development that it became.
It has relied on patience and wisdom and offered solutions in a world that has long been vexed by polarization, injustice and inequality.
It is thus a strong sense of solidarity, mutual trust and confidence which continues to drive India-Africa cooperation to this day, enabling us to expand and enrich our cooperation- bilaterally, regionally and multilaterally to our great mutual benefit.
Today, Africa is the continent of the future.
As the global economy continues to recover only slowly- from the global financial and economic crisis, India and Africa together may well become engines of growth for the entire world.
We have both profited from mutually beneficial resource partnerships and easier access to each other’s expanding markets.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Equally, India attaches high value to her excellent relations with the Caribbean region.
We share common values of democracy & respect for human rights.
The CARICOM and India share common positions on many global issues and cooperate closely in multilateral fora.
The large diaspora of Indian origin in your region bears testimony to our goodwill built on our age-old ties.
Capacity building is a major pillar of our relations. Our governments have been happy to depute experts to the Caribbean countries to assist in the sectors of priority focus of your governments.
The discussions between Prime Minister of India and the Chairman of CARICOM in December 2018 led to the creation of a framework for broadening of our relations in a variety of sectors.
That was when we invited the CARICOM nations to joint the international Solar Alliance.
Our co-operation spans the full range of human activity- from oceanography to IT and communications from energy to infrastructure, trade and economic cooperation and culture, we have seen many successes and have much to look forward to.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Even though India is separated from the Pacific Island Countries by Oceans and continents, we are proud to have a long tradition of close friendship with you.
Our peoples are bound by our centuries -old trade and cultural linkages that have contributed to the trust and warmth in our relations.
We particularly appreciate the way that your nations have made the Indian diaspora feel comfortable and secure in distant lands.
Our government attaches great importance to its relations with our friends in the Pacific island Countries. We believe our economic linkages and co-operation with your countries are a key factor in India’s extended “Act East” Policy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As the world becomes more globalized and inter-connected, the salience of global cross-cutting issues is rising is rising on which pro-active efforts of India, Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific Island countries could create an indispensable critical mass.
They call for well-conceived and practical, collaborative responses by us collectively. And we have, over the decades, steadily been doing exactly this: the results are a matter of great satisfaction:
While “Solar Mamas” brighten rural homesteads in Madagascar, Botswana, Tanzania, Fiji and Uganda, and Indian investors and businesses build on the synergies of our governments and peoples, while the Indian diaspora in Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Mauritius, Fiji, and South Africa continue to cherish memories and melodies from the distant shores of India, we, too, share their happiness at annual diaspora reunions. Our shared history will always bind us in a special way.
Going forward, we believe that it Is up to us to forge new partnerships of co-operation and collaboration to make it a better world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It goes without saying that in presenting India’s candidatures to lead multilateral efforts in multilateral institutions, India very seriously takes care to speak for fellow developing nations- we would like to leave no stone unturned, no voice unheard.
I have introduced to you Mr. P.K Das India’s candidate to the election to the post of Director (Compliance and Facilitation) World Customs organization, M. P.K. Das, currently chairman of the Central Board of Customs and Direct Taxes who heads and coordinates our enormous customs structure spread over 29 states and Union territories of India. He will present India’s priorities as a member of the WCO.
Mr. Das and I will have the pleasure of presenting to the ACP for this excellent venue, a painting of the tree of life, painted in the traditional Indian way, which symbolizes the very essence and energy of life. We would like it to signify the strong enduring and positive partnership between India and ACP – our unique partnership, with roots in history, branching into new sector, bearing fruit and revitalizing its surroundings.
Thank You