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SPEECH BY HER EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SHRIMATI PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE GATHERING OF THE INDIAN COMMUNITY AT THE INDIRA GANDHI CENTRE FOR INDIAN CULTURE 

Port Louis, Mauritius, 26th April 2011

Speech 


Your Excellency, Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, 

Your Excellencies, 

Ministers and Members of the National Assembly, 

Members of the Indian community and friends of India, 

Distinguished Guests, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I am very happy to be with you this evening. I was deeply impressed with the beautiful cultural performance, which shows the strong cultural bonds that we share. 

Today, it was a moment of great joy, when I had the privilege of unveiling the statue of a proud Indian, a true statesperson and a distinguished personality - Smt. Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India. Throughout her life she worked tirelessly for human dignity and harmony in the world. She strove for building an equitable world, and bringing the concerns of the developing countries to the forefront of the global agenda. I would like to thank His Excellency, Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, for joining me on this momentous occasion. 

The Centre of Indian Culture has been aptly named after Smt. Indira Gandhi, who always had special and warm feelings towards Mauritius and its people. She was not a stranger to this beautiful island, her every visit to Mauritius was not only productive, but full of memories of the beauty of the country, and the warmth accorded to her by the people of Mauritius. She often recounted her many meetings with the Father of your Nation, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam. Thus, to participate in today's event in a Cultural Centre named after Smt. Indira Gandhi, gives me great joy and satisfaction. 

My meetings with the leaders of Mauritius have been useful. We have covered the current status, and the future prospects of our dynamic and multifaceted partnership, which naturally is to mutual benefit. In our discussions, over the last two days, we have once again underlined the strategic nature of our mutually beneficial partnership. We are determined to preserve what we have; yet move on towards providing for co-operation in new areas of partnership. 

Earlier today, I was honoured to address the Members of House of Democracy of Mauritius - its National Assembly. I was proud to see that Mauritius cherishes and upholds its democratic credentials, sending a loud and clear message to the region and the world beyond, that democracy is the ideal platform to provide for the welfare of its citizens. I congratulate you Mr. Prime Minister, and the leaders of your nation for steadfastly pursuing this path. 

An old African proverb says "A friend is someone you share the path with". This sentiment appropriately marks our centuries old traditional and time-tested relationship. Ours is not only a bond of friendship; it is also a relationship of kinship. Nearly 200 years ago, your ancestors braved the ocean, to arrive at a land unknown to all of them, a land which was inhospitable and ruled by foreign colonial forces. They moved ahead with determination, with an indomitable spirit which could not be crushed, and were able to surmount every obstacle to create what Mauritius is today. I pay homage to each and every one of them, whose work guided Mauritius onward with the purpose and objective of providing for its children and grand children. 

The Government of India recognizes the remarkable contribution that the people who trace their origin to India have made in many countries across the globe. Their stories across the world are best captured in the words of Vishwamitra Ganga Aashutosh, the renowned poet from Mauritius, and I had the opportunity to meet him today at the Apravasi Ghat. 

"No gold did they find,

Underneath any stone 

They touched and turned, 

Yet, every stone they touched,

Into solid gold they turned." 

Every year, in India on 9th January, we celebrate the achievements of Overseas Indians - the Pravasi Bharatiya. The Annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas brings together persons of Indian Origin from across the globe. It is particularly noteworthy that His Excellency, President Sir Anerood Jugnauth, and His Excellency, Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam are among the dignitaries who have been recognized through the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. We are proud of their success and achievements. I had the privilege of personally conferring this award on Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam. He heads his country with distinction and statesmanship. 

India has various initiatives for the benefit of its overseas diaspora. We have provided for Non-Resident Indians to vote, and in the recent elections to five States in India, they voted when present in their electoral constituency in India. It has been decided that a mechanism will be worked out, to have a single card merging the PIO Card and the OCI Card in an Overseas Citizen of India Card. The legislative procedures in this regard have also commenced. 

Early this month, India and its billion people exulted when India won the Cricket World Cup. I understand that this very hall had a packed audience which enjoyed this superb match. I personally witnessed the enthralling atmosphere at the Wankhede Stadium which was truly amazing. I understand that messages of congratulations were received from various corners of Mauritius, on India's victory. 

Mr. Prime Minister, Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Before I end, may I say that I am confident that my visit will provide additional impetus and momentum, towards expanding the scope of our dynamic and ever expanding bilateral co-operation. I am certain that my compatriots in Mauritius will be true Ambassadors of India, and pursue excellence in whatever field they choose to, and be a source of pride for India and benefit to Mauritius. 

To all of you present today and your families and to those unable to attend, I convey my good wishes. I would urge that each one of you continue to work hard, as you have done so far, towards preserving, nurturing, promoting and strengthening the enduring friendship that exists between the Republic of India and the Republic of Mauritius. 

Long live Indo-Mauritius friendship. 

Thank you. 

Jai Hind! 

Jai Mauritius!
 
 
 


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