Your Excellency Mr Kartik Pande, High Commissioner of the Republic of India to the Republic of Seychelles and Madam,
Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Heads of Diplomatic Missions,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to join you this evening to celebrate the 74th Republic Day of India.
On this occasion, on behalf of President Wavel Ramkalawan, the Government and the people of Seychelles, I wish to extend our heartfelt congratulations and sincere best wishes to you, HighCommissioner and your family, to the Government and the friendly people of India as well as to the Indian community in Seychelles.
Excellency, the occasion of the celebration of your Republic Day is a special one as this is your first Republic Day that you are celebrating in Seychelles in your capacity as the High Commissioner of India Seychelles.
On behalf of all of us, let me once again welcome you to Seychelles and wish you every success in your tenure of office.
Ladies and gentlemen,
On this day, on 26th January 1950, the Indian constitution came into force marking the complete independence of India from British rule - the ‘Purna Swaraj’.
Tonight, we remember the great Indian leaders of Independence: Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of the Republic of India, Dr. Babasahed Bhimrao Ambedkrar- the ‘Father of the Indian Constitution’as well as the thousands of other Indian men and women who joined the struggle for Independence.
Through their actions, India was reborn as an independent and sovereign nation. Their legacy lives on to this day, inspired by India’s rich history, traditions and heritage that she shares with the world.
India’s commitment to democracy, to the rule of law, to social justice, to equitable socio-economic and people-centred development is rooted in the values which inspired her independence heroes and which continue to inspire not only her contemporary leaders but also leaders of all peace-loving nations.
In 2019, India marked the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Widely recognised as one of the 20th century’s greatest political and spiritual leaders, and honoured in India as the father of the nation, we also remember him on this day and pay homage to his legacy.
Seventy-four years ago, India chose its own course and assumed responsibility for its destiny in the face of overwhelming odds and adversity. India’s “tryst with destiny” has since transformed India into an economic, industrial and technological global power, and a force for good in inter-state relations, guided by her democratic values and Mahatma Gandhi’s message of Satyagraha. And through this, India continues to inspire the world.
On our journey to self-rule and independence, Seychelles too drew inspiration from India’s struggle.
The bonds of friendship that exist between our two countries are longstanding and strong. They are so because they are built on shared values, trust, understanding and mutual respect. We are both respectful of each other’s national interests. India has always treated us an equal partner. Like you, we strongly call for a new, just and equitable world order underpinned by the United Nations Charter, the rule of international law, solidarity, peace and friendship between nations in a multi-polar world.
We both continue to work to strengthen and diversify our bonds of friendship and cooperation at both the bilateral and multilateral levels.
India remains an understanding and reliable partner who has consistently stood beside Seychelles in our development, both in good and bad times. India was one of the first countries that donated Covid vaccines to Seychelles, helping us to relaunch the tourism industry and our economy.
The Indian teachers, doctors, construction workers, business entrepreneurs, IT technicians and others continue to contribute to the development efforts of Seychelles. We are grateful to them all.
In the short period that you have been in Seychelles, you have already shown your commitment in enhancing the ties between our two countries.
In November 2022, Seychelles and India signed three Memoranda of Understanding under the High Impact Community Development Projects. These will have direct impact on the lives of local communities at Bodamier, Anse Aux Pins, Adela Road at Pt Larue and to the secondary students of English River, Mt Fleuri and Plaisance schools.
Last week , on 20th January 2023, the Seychelles Public Transport Corporation formally received 10 new Ashok Leyland buses from India . This is as a result of our on-going collaboration with the the Exim bank of India. The remaining 49 buses will be delivered during the first quarter of this year.
The importance of the maritime sector to both our countries cannot be overstated. The ocean that we share has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of both our nations’ economies. Maritime security, therefore, is also at the forefront of both of our counties’ preoccupation and priority. In Seychelles, it’s one of the pillars of our foreign policy.We are faced with new and emerging illicit maritime activities that call for the reinvigoration of the efforts of all countries, particularly those that border the Indian Ocean to tackle them.
Tonight, may I place on record the thanks and appreciation of my government for all the very valuable assistance provided to us by the Indian navy. We are similarly appreciative of the active collaboration between the Indian Navy and the Seychelles Coast Guard. We were pleased to welcome naval officers from INS Kolkata who participated in the National Day Parade in June 2022, and also conducted joint military surveillance in our EEZ.
These are but a few examples of our on-going bilateral cooperation, which are set to grow further based on the platform of our historical links and the values that we share.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like now to invite you to join me in a toast to the good health and well-being of H.E. Shrimati Droupadi Murmu, President of the Republic of India, to H.E. Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, and to the prosperity and well-being of the friendly people of India.
I thank you.