ADDRESS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 63RD REPUBLIC DAY OF INDIA BY MR. JEAN-PAUL ADAM, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES
Your Excellency, Mr. Thanglura Darlong, High Commissioner of the Republic of India
Ministers, Your Excellencies Ambassadors accredited to the Republic of Seychelles, Chief of Defense Forces, Attorney General,
Members of the National Assembly,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to able to offer our warmest congratulations to the Government and people of India on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of India’s Republic day. On behalf of President James Michel, we convey our felicitations to H.E President Pratibha Patil and H.E Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this auspicious occasion.
We also offer our best wishes on this occasion to all the Indian nationals in Seychelles, and around the world, who are contributing positively towards the prosperity of the planet and all its inhabitants.
It is also particularly pleasing for me to be able to share this occasion with H.E the High Commissioner who is celebrating his first Republic Day in Seychelles since his accreditation.
The 26th January is an epoch-making date in India’s long struggle for self-determination and the rights of the Indian people.
We can all be inspired by the achievements that this day represents for all countries around the world. India is the world’s largest democracy with a population of great diversity speaking a myriad of languages.
And today we celebrate the equality and freedom enshrined in the country’s Constitution adopted on that day.
The birth of the Indian nation is a victory for freedom and equality around the world, for it illustrates that diversity is strength.
Seychelles is in contrast, one of the smallest countries of the world- but we have also taken onboard right from the start of our independence- that our diversity as a people- was one of our strengths
When Seychelles was nothing more than a colonial outpost, many Indian traders established themselves in Seychelles and provided the trading link with the sub-continent and beyond that allowed Seychelles to grow. And in this 36th year since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the links with India have continued to grow and widen.
As partners in the Indian Ocean, India and Seychelles share an affinity based on mutual security, exchanges at all levels and perhaps most importantly, trust between our peoples.
President James Michel’s state visit to India in June 2010 has given a further impetus to the strategic cooperation between our two countries. We have also received high level visits in Seychelles by the Minister of External Affairs, and the Minister for Defence.
Through this cooperation we have worked together against the scourge of piracy. As our patrol ship Topaz has been engaged in numerous successful engagements against pirate groups, we are thankful to the Government of India for its foresight and its support in helping Seychelles to defend itself, and the ocean that we share through its donation. We are also thankful for the USD 5million dollar grant that was announced following the President’s visit which has been instrumental in ensuring that we are capable of adapting to the new challenges posed by maritime piracy.
The ongoing training programmes, such as the training of Tazar Special Forces, are also instrumental in ensuring that Seychelles continues to maintain and improve a force capable of intervening in sea lanes that continue to be threatened by piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
The deputation of experts to the Seychelles government is also a critical component in the long term capacity building of Seychelles military and its civil service. Not to forget the numerous Seychellois that have benefited from ITEC scholarships, and we are pleased that the numbers of ITEC alumni continue to grow and share their experiences locally.
The positioning of an Indian Dornier aircraft in Seychelles to boost our aerial surveillance capability at this time is also a model for military cooperation and South-South cooperation in general. We are very proud that Seychelles’ forces and Indian forces have used this resource to act as one in many instances in disrupting illegal pirate activity but also in search and rescue operations. We very much look forward to the eventual donation of the new Dornier that is being purpose built for placement in our forces, and we are delighted that training for our own engineers and pilots is included in this cooperation agreement.
We are also working together towards establishing wide and meaningful cooperation in terms of our respective police forces.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Indian technology and know-how is increasingly one of the driving forces of technological advancements around the world. Seychelles has directly benefited through the installation of the Pan-African network Project which connects our university and our hospital to India.
President Michel has expressed his vision for our university as one which uses technology to empower its people. The Indian government has given us one of the tools to make this happen- and we are determined to build on the foundations laid to make full use of this opportunity.
In the health sector, we are every Seychellois is also touched by the welcome and care afforded to our citizens that travel to India for world class medical treatment.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The history of cooperation between our two countries is one which is founded on trust and understanding.
The difference in size between our respective nations is eclipsed by the strength of the bonds of friendship that exist between our governments and peoples.
India has been a reliable and constant partner in our development, and we like to think that we also offer a dependable and attractive position from which India may have a better view of the Indian Ocean and Africa.
The world economy is in a torment. There are many uncertainties that lie ahead. I have every confidence that the strength of our relationship can however create opportunities even within adversity.
In his speech at the Delhi Summit on Sustainable Development in India one year ago, President Michel remarked that “India has assumed the mantle of economic giant with grace and humility”.
Seychelles is proud to be a partner to India in our shared quest for true sustainable development- development which is not based on the size of a country, nor on its wealth- but on its commitment to the values of equality and investment in the future.
This is the spirit of the Constitution of India that we are celebrating today. And it is in this spirit that I am proud to raise my glass to offer a toast to the good health of H.E Ms. Pratibha Patil, the President of the Republic of India and the prosperity and well-being of the Indian people.
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