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Speech by His Excellency Mr. Dinesh Bhatia, Ambassador of India at Flag Hoisting Ceremony on the occasion of 67th Republic Day of India at India House, Abidjan on 26 January 2016

Posted on: January 26, 2016 | Back | Print



New Delhi: Jan 25, 2016


 My Fellow Citizens:

1.  On the eve of the sixty-seventh Republic Day of our nation, I extend warm greetings to all of you in India and abroad. I convey my special greetings to members of our Armed Forces, Para-military Forces and Internal Security Forces. I pay my tribute to the brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives in defending India’s territorial integrity and in upholding the rule of law.

Fellow Citizens:

2.  On twenty-sixth January 1950, our Republic was born. On this day, we gave ourselves the Constitution of India. This day saw the culmination of heroic struggle of an extraordinary generation of leaders who overcame colonialism to establish the world’s largest democracy. They pulled together India’s amazing diversity to build national unity, which has brought us so far. The enduring democratic institutions they established have given us the gift of continuity on the path of progress. India today is a rising power, a country fast emerging as a global leader in science, technology, innovation and start-ups, and whose economic success is the envy of the world.

Fellow Citizens:

3.  The year 2015 has been a year of challenges. During this year, the global economy remained subdued. Unpredictability ruled the commodity markets. Uncertainty marked the institutional responses. In such troubled environment, no one nation could be an oasis of growth. India’s economy also had to face the blowback. Weak investor sentiments led to withdrawal of funds from emerging markets including India putting pressure on the Indian rupee. Our exports suffered. Our manufacturing sector is yet to recover fully.

4.  In 2015, we were also denied the bounty of nature. While large parts of India were affected by severe drought, other areas reeled under devastating floods. Unusual weather conditions impacted our agricultural production. Rural employment and income levels suffered.

Fellow Citizens:

5.  We can call out these challenges because we are aware of them. There is a great virtue in acknowledging a problem and resolving to address it. India is building and implementing strategies to solve these problems. This year, with an estimated growth rate of 7.3 percent, India is poised to become the fastest growing large economy. Contraction in global oil prices has helped maintain external sector stability and control domestic prices. Despite occasional setbacks, industrial performance this year has been strong.

6.  Aadhaar, with its present reach of 96 crore people, is helping in direct transfer of benefits, plugging leakages and improving transparency. Over 19 crore bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana is the single largest exercise in the world at financial inclusion. The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana aims to create model villages. The Digital India programme is an effort to bridge the digital divide. The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana targets farmer’s welfare. Increased spending on programmes like MGNREGA is aimed at enhancing employment generation to rejuvenate the rural economy.

7.  The Make-in-India campaign will boost manufacturing by facilitating easy conduct of business and improving competitiveness of domestic industry. The Start-up India programme will foster innovation and encourage new-age entrepreneurship. The National Skill Development Mission envisages skilling 300 million youth by 2022.

8.  There will be, amongst us, occasional doubters and baiters. Let us continue to complain; to demand; to rebel. This too is a virtue of democracy. But let us also applaud what our democracy has achieved. With investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, health, education, science and technology, we are positioning ourselves well for achieving a higher growth rate which will in the next ten to fifteen years help us eliminate poverty.

Fellow Citizens:

9.  Reverence for the past is one of the essential ingredients of nationalism. Our finest inheritance, the institutions of democracy, ensure to all citizens justice, equality, and gender and economic equity. When grim instances of violence hit at these established values which are at the core of our nationhood, it is time to take note. We must guard ourselves against the forces of violence, intolerance and unreason.

Fellow Citizens:

10.  For revitalizing the forces of growth, we need reforms and progressive legislation. It is the bounden duty of the law makers to ensure that such legislation is enacted after due discussion and debate. A spirit of accommodation, cooperation and consensus-building should be the preferred mode of decision-making. Delays in decision-making and implementation can only harm the process of development.

Fellow Citizens:

11.  Peace is the primary objective of a rational consciousness as well as our moral universe. It is the foundation of civilization and a necessity for economic progress. And yet, we have never been able to answer a simple question: why does peace remain so elusive? Why has peace been so much more difficult to attain than degenerate conflict?

12.  As the twentieth century closed down with a remarkable revolution in science and technology, we had some reason for optimism that the twenty-first century would mark an era in which the energies of people and nations would be committed to a rising prosperity that would eliminate, for the first time, the curse of extreme poverty. That optimism has faded in the first fifteen years of this century. There is unprecedented turbulence across vast regions, with alarming increase in regional instabilities. The scourge of terrorism has reshaped war into its most barbaric manifestation. No corner can now consider itself safe from this savage monster.

13.  Terrorism is inspired by insane objectives, motivated by bottomless depths of hatred, instigated by puppeteers who have invested heavily in havoc through the mass murder of innocents. This is war beyond any doctrine, a cancer which must be operated out with a firm scalpel. There is no good or bad terrorism; it is pure evil.

प्यारे देशवासियो,

14.  देश हर बात से कभी सहमत नहीं होगा; परंतु वर्तमान चुनौती अस्तित्व से जुड़ी है। आतंकवादी महत्त्वपूर्ण स्थायित्व की बुनियाद, मान्यता प्राप्त सीमाओं को नकारते हुए व्यवस्था को कमज़ोर करना चाहते हैं। यदि अपराधी सीमाओं को तोड़ने में सफल हो जाते हैं तो हम अराजकता के युग की ओर बढ़ जाएंगे। देशों के बीच विवाद हो सकते हैं और जैसा कि सभी जानते हैं कि जितना हम पड़ोसी के निकट होंगे, विवाद की संभावना उतनी अधिक होगी। असहमति दूर करने का एक सभ्य तरीका, संवाद है, जो सही प्रकार से कायम रहना चाहिए। परंतु हम गोलियों की बौछार के बीच शांति पर चर्चा नहीं कर सकते।

15.  भयानक खतरे के दौरान हमें अपने उपमहाद्वीप में विश्व के लिए एक पथप्रदर्शक बनने का ऐतिहासिक अवसर प्राप्त हुआ है। हमें अपने पड़ोसियों के साथ शांतिपूर्ण वार्ता के द्वारा अपनी भावनात्मक और भू-राजनीतिक धरोहर के जटिल मुद्दों को सुलझाने का प्रयास करना चाहिए, और यह जानते हुए एक दूसरे की समृद्धि में विश्वास जताना चाहिए कि मानव की सर्वोत्तम परिभाषा दुर्भावनाओं से नहीं बल्कि सद्भावना से दी जाती है। मैत्री की बेहद जरूरत वाले विश्व के लिए हमारा उदाहरण अपने आप एक संदेश का कार्य कर सकता है।

प्यारे देशवासियो,

16.  भारत में हर एक को एक स्वस्थ, खुशहाल और कामयाब जीवन जीने का अधिकार है। इस अधिकार का, विशेषकर हमारे शहरों में, उल्लंघन किया जा रहा है, जहां प्रदूषण खतरनाक स्तर पर पहुंच चुका है। जलवायु परिवर्तन अपने असली रूप में सामने आया जब 2015 सबसे गर्म वर्ष के रूप में दर्ज किया गया। विभिन्न स्तरों पर अनेक कार्यनीतियों और कार्रवाई की आवश्यकता है। शहरी योजना के नवान्वेषी समाधान, स्वच्छ ऊर्जा का प्रयोग और लोगों की मानसिकता में बदलाव के लिए सभी भागीदारों की सक्रिय हिस्सेदारी जरूरी है। लोगों द्वारा अपनाए जाने पर ही इन परिवर्तनों का स्थायित्व सुनिश्चित हो सकता है।

प्यारे देशवासियो,

17.  अपनी मातृभूमि से प्रेम समग्र प्रगति का मूल है। शिक्षा, अपने ज्ञानवर्धक प्रभाव से, मानव प्रगति और समृद्धि पैदा करती है। यह भावनात्मक शक्तियां विकसित करने में सहायता करती है जिससे सोई उम्मीदें और भुला दिए गए मूल्य दोबारा जाग्रत हो जाते हैं। डॉ. सर्वपल्ली राधाकृष्णन ने कहा था, ‘‘शिक्षा का अंतिम परिणाम एक उन्मुक्त रचनाशील मनुष्य है जो ऐतिहासिक परिस्थितियों और प्राकृतिक विपदाओं के विरुद्ध लड़ सकता है।’’ ‘चौथी औद्योगिक क्रांति’ पैदा करने के लिए जरूरी है कि यह उन्मुक्त और रचनाशील मनुष्य उन बदलावों को आत्मसात करने के लिए परिवर्तन गति पर नियंत्रण रखे जो व्यवस्थाओं और समाजों के भीतर स्थापित होते जा रहे हैं। एक ऐसे माहौल की आवश्यकता है जो महत्त्वपूर्ण विचारशीलता को बढ़ावा दे और अध्यापन को बौद्धिक रूप से उत्साहवर्धक बनाए। इससे विद्वता प्रेरित होगी और ज्ञान एवं शिक्षकों के प्रति गहरा सम्मान बढ़ेगा। इससे महिलाओं के प्रति आदर की भावना पैदा होगी जिससे व्यक्ति जीवन पर्यन्त सामाजिक सदाचार के मार्ग पर चलेगा। इसके द्वारा गहन विचारशीलता की संस्कृति प्रोत्साहित होगी और चिंतन एवं आंतरिक शांति का वातावरण पैदा होगा। हमारी शैक्षिक संस्थाएं मन में जाग्रत विविध विचारों के प्रति उन्मुक्त दृष्टिकोण के जरिए, विश्व स्तरीय बननी चाहिए। अंतरराष्ट्रीय वरीयताओं में प्रथम दो सौ में स्थान प्राप्त करने वाले दो भारतीय उच्च शिक्षा संस्थानों के द्वारा यह शुरुआत पहले ही हो गई है।

प्यारे देशवासियो,

18.  पीढ़ी का परिवर्तन हो चुका है। युवा बागडोर संभालने के लिए आगे आ चुके हैं। ‘नूतन युगेर भोरे’ के टैगोर के इन शब्दों के साथ आगे कदम बढ़ाएं :

‘‘चोलाय चोलाय बाजबे जायेर भेरी-

पायेर बेगी पॉथ केटी जाय कोरिश ने आर


आगे बढ़ो, नगाड़ों का स्वर तुम्हारे विजयी प्रयाण की घोषणा करता है

शान के साथ कदमों से अपना पथ बनाएं;

देर मत करो, देर मत करो, एक नया युग आरंभ हो रहा है।


जय हिंद!


Fellow Indians,

Today is a very special day for me and my family in Cote d’Ivoire. It is the fourth and the last National Day that we are celebrating with you all. As many of you would know that we leave very shortly for our next destination.

I came to Abidjan on a mission to serve the interests of Government of India and Indians residing in Cote d’Ivoire. At the end of my term, I can confidently say with the expectation that you will all agree that we have grown as a community with more people choosing Cote d’Ivoire as their destination for businesses and jobs. From 500, the number of Indians in Cote d’Ivoire now is over 1500 and this does not include the floating population during cashew season. Likewise, the number of Ivorian students in India is growing with over 1000 currently.

I may recount that with the help of my able team in the Embassy, I have been able to establish unprecedented relations with the political leadership of Cote d’Ivoire. I, as your representative, had the opportunity to meet His Excellency the President, the President of National Assembly and the Prime Minister on several occasions besides majority of the Cabinet members. I continued to exchange ideas and views to deepen our traditional friendship. Further, I tried to reach out to the economic and business leaders of this country.

The Prime Minister H.E. Duncan visited India in November 2014 marking his second visit in a short span of less than 2 years. President H.E. Ouattara could not participate in the India Africa Summit in October 2015 owing to clash of dates with the Presidential elections but he deputed senior Minister of Mines and Industry H.E. Brou to represent Cote d’Ivoire.

We have had several Indian business delegations at the level of Chambers of Commerce and individual company level visiting during my stay here. The bilateral trade figures crossed USD 800 million in 2014-15. India continues to be among the largest Foreign Direct Investors in Cote d’Ivoire.

Not only this, I am glad that two very large projects in transport and infrastructure sectors were inked last year. These are among the largest ones that any Indian company got in entire Africa.

Equally important, I have been reiterating since I arrived in Abidjan that the connectivity between the Embassy and the community should be easy and unhindered. To achieve this, we have put many measures in place starting with an active website, regular communication with Indian community, community meetings, involvement in cultural programs, forming an Indian association, initiation of Indian temple project and opening the doors of the Embassy and India House to fellow Indians. Furthermore, the Embassy now has a verified twitter account which is being proudly followed by Prime Minister of India.

In all, I can say that my tenure in Cote d’Ivoire has been professionally and personally highly satisfying.

I take this opportunity to convey best of greetings and best wishes on behalf of myself and my family to each Indian and their family members in Cote d’Ivoire. I hope the burgeoning Indian community does ever better and creates a commendable niche in business and society in this beautiful country with extremely hospitable people.

You will all be missed dearly by us.

I will be posting my further movements on twitter with my handle as @dineshbhatia.

No Embassy event during our stay in Cote d’Ivoire would have been possible without the enthusiastic participation of Indian community and children, Delhi Darbar’s services, my own team of India based and local staff in the Embassy, Mrs Kouame’s tents and music and the staff at India House particularly our gardener Saiba. I wish to thank each one.

Last but not the least, I wish to thank Mr. Sagar Sahu of Agriex CI and Bonte brand of Bagadiya Brothers in partnering with the Embassy to host today’s celebrations.

With these words, I request you all to kindly repeat after me three times – Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind

Thank you. Dhanyavad.