Toast by Minister Vincent Meriton On the occasion of India’s Independence Day. 15th August 2015
Your Excellency, Mr. Sanjay Kumar Panda, High Commissioner of the Republic of India to the Republic of Seychelles, and Mrs. Minati Panda
Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening.
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today to celebrate the 69th Independence Day of India with you.
Please accept the apologies of my colleague Mr. Joël Morgan, Minister for foreign affairs and Transport, who is currently on an overseas mission.
On behalf of President James Michel, the government and the people of Seychelles, it is my honor to present to His Excellency President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the government and the People of the Republic of India, our heartfelt congratulations and sincere wishes on this most auspicious occasion.
69 years ago to date, the Indian flag that we see today was raised for the first time, its colours representing; courage, sacrifice, peace, truth, faith and chivalry is in fact a perfect portrayal of some of the characteristics of the people of India. Throughout its history India has faced many challenges. But the willpower, determination and resilience of the people of India, has on many occasions managed to turn those challenges around into great successes. The drive to be better and the desire to reach higher heights is exactly what have shaped India into one of the most industrious country in the world.
Seychelles and India shares a long history, to note that amongst the first group of settlers to land on our shore in 1770, there was an Indian. In the years that followed many other Indian traders and workers came to our shores to help build the Seychelles that we know and we are so fond of today. Our historical tie with the Republic of India, has led us to forge a close- knit relationship. Over the years, our two nations has formed excellent links and engaged in corporation in different sectors such as; economic development, environment, education and training, defence, health, transport and youth, just to name a few.
It is because of this close-knit relationship that the people of Seychelles are more than happy to join the Indian Community around the world in celebrating this special day.
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen
Our bilateral relationship with India is one that is not only crucial, but it is also one that we hold at the highest esteem.
Our corporation has been further strengthened recently by the visit of H.E Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was in Seychelles between the 10th and 11th March 2015. During his albeit short visit, a number of agreements were signed, to further tighten the knot of corporation between our two countries.
Your Excellency, it is with great pleasure, that today, we can see that our relationship keeps evolving to greater heights. In the coming weeks President James Michel will be in India on an official visit. Later, in October this year, he will also be participating in the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit. This summit will be an opportunity for the African leaders and ministers to meet and deliberate on the latest developments in their corporation with the Republic of India. This can be described as an ingenious initiative by India to bring the different countries on the African continent closer together in order to enhance the spirit of South-South Corporation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is very important to reiterate the need and necessity for Seychelles to safeguard and protect our blue Economy for the future development and prosperity of Seychelles. Our tourism and fishing industries are the main drivers of our economy.
We appreciate all the support that we have thus far received from the republic of India in the development of these two sectors. To this end, we are looking forward to the signing of the Framework Agreement of cooperation in the field of ocean economy with India where together the two countries can better enhance the potential of the Blue Economy.
We were especially pleased with the announcement by Prime Minister Modi, during his visit in March, regarding the Visa waiver, granted to the citizen of Seychelles. This will allow more ease of access and flow of people between our two countries. Furthermore, it would also lead to an increase in commerce and investments between Seychelles and the Republic of India. Furthermore, the Government of India has recently accepted to extend additional domestic points of call for Air Seychelles to Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. This development will be of great benefit to tourism and trade of both countries.
In December, over 190 countries would meet in Paris for the COP21 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to strike a new global climate deal. Seychelles is very happy to see that, in preparation for the forum India is already taking steps to increase the use of renewable energy in the country. Seychelles is pleased to hear of such a move forward. We hope that during the meeting India, will support Seychelles’ and other Small developing Island states arguments and requests, so that we can finalize a legally binding agreement to bring down global emissions and keep global warming at a minimum.
We hope that in the fight against climate change, India will stand by us and all those who are most vulnerable.
We are confident that the relationship between our two countries and peoples will keep getting stronger.
It is my hope that our relationship built on mutual respect and friendship, which has withstood the test of time, will allow our two countries to seize the opportunities for sustainable development and the creation of a better future for us all.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, I now have the pleasure to invite you to join me in a toast to the good health of H.E Shri Pranab Mukherjee, president of the Republic Of India, to the prosperity of the people of the Republic of India, and to the friendship between our two nations.
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