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Events of Ambassador

Speech delivered on the occasion of the celebration of the 69th Republic Day of India on 29 January 2018 at Meikels Hotel

Guest of Honour Ambasador Jonathan Wutawanashe, Acting  Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Hon. Mrs. Priscah Mupfumira, Minister of Tourism, Hon’ble Ministers here present,
His Worship Mr. Ben Manyenyeni, Mayor of Harare,
His Worship Mr. Hubert Fidze, Mayor of Masvingo,
Mrs. Monica Mutsvangwa, Senator, Members of Parliament,
Elders of the Indian Community,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to you all to the 69th Republic Day celebration of India. Actual day of celebration is on 26th January. However, as Australian National Day falls on the same day and the two Missions have a mutual agreement to celebrate alternatively on 26th January. This year it was the turn of Australian Embassy.

For every Indian, Republic day is a very significant occasion in the independent history of our country, because on 26th January, 69 years ago, India became a Republic by adopting a visionary constitution and became the largest democracy in the world. The framers of our constitution saw it not just as a basic law of the new nation but as a scripture for social and economic transformation.  Nearly seven decades later today, India not only continues to be a thriving democratic country but also the fastest growing major economy in the world.

With 1.3 billion population today, about 1 billion people will go to vote in 2019 general elections. India has 1841 registered political parties, 82,900 registered newspapers, 882 TV channels, 1600 languages. The figures go on and on. And they are all elements of our democratic institutions. The unfaltering democracy in India has shown to the world that humanity can be governed with freedom. That it is possible to achieve inclusive economic growth without sacrificing democracy and diversity, without compromising the values of pluralism and tolerance which are the core values of our society.

And today, we celebrate the constitution that accommodates these values. Inclusiveness entails huge responsibility and challenge for us but over all these years, this has emerged as our strength and not weakness. This is a celebration of unity in diversity. And we are talking here of oneness and not of sameness. 

I find it relevant to mention all these because India’s relationship with Zimbabwe is interspersed with these values. Relation between India and Zimbabwe goes beyond numbers-the number of exchanges of high level visits, number of agreements signed, number of trade figure in terms of Dollars.  In fact, the relationship between the two countries is much deeper, profound and sublime which can never be measured in the above terms. We are rather bound by the elements of invisibles which include our shared history, people to people relations, culture, music, dances. Most of all we speak the same second language, i.e English.

In this highly transactional world where relations between nations are conducted on the basis of who gets what and how much and at whose expense, India’s relationship with Zimbabwe shows that it is possible to have a friendly and emotional relationship based on sharing and mutual respect. Our shared history of more than 500 years has laid the foundation for our shared and common future.

This future is of enhanced cooperation in the areas of Trade, Business, science and Technology including space technology, Information Technology, manufacturing, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME),  Agriculture, Health, Higher and Tertiary education, media including content creation in our broadcasting services, films, sports, culture, tourism, e-governance, innovation and the list goes on.

In this context, I wish to convey that India intends to align itself with the new vision statement set out by the President, His Excellency ED Mnangagwa in his inaugural speech, his State Of the National Address and the provisions made in the budget presentation.  The contents and intents of the vision statement find resonance with what India is also undertaking under the leadership of my Prime Minister under various slogans/programmes including Team India, Make in India, stand up India, Start up India and Skill India. The mantra of my Prime Minister is to Reform, Perform and Transform. There is also convergence of business interest in India’s ‘Make in India’ and Zimbabwe’s ‘Buy Zimbabwe’. The two countries have a huge young population who are creative, innovative and ready to take this Mission and Vision forward together.

We are excited to be a part of the process where Zimbabwe is set to forging deeper bilateral and economic cooperation with all countries.

Indian and Zimbabwe also work together in numerous development cooperation projects and capacity building programmes that contributes to strengthening both the visible and invisible aspects of our relations. India’s Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, our flagship programme to help build capacity of our neighbours and friends has seen more than 230 candidates benefiting from it in 2017 alone.  This cooperation does not confine itself to Government to Government. An exemplary cooperation at the institutional level exists. HIT has MOUs with twelve technical institutions in India. In the last 4/5 years more than 300 M.Tech Graduates have returned to the institution.

India is committed to uphold and strengthen the multifaceted relationship with Zimbabwe. 2018 will see more intense engagements at the bilateral and as well as at the business level.

Let me conclude by expressing my sincere appreciation, on behalf of my Government, to the government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and its people for their unstinting support for our membership in various UN and International fora. Most particularly, I wish to convey GOI’s deep appreciation for Zimbabwe’s support to our recent membership in ICJ.

I would like to thank Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their unwavering support to all the efforts made by this Mission to strengthening the relationship between the two countries. I wish to also convey our gratitude to all senior officials of various Ministries for the excellent support we receive.

I would also like to thank my Embassy family (this includes spouses) for being solidly behind me in putting today’s programme together. They have worked very hard to make this programme a success.

Finally, special thanks to the invisible hands of my loving wife for her support. I don’t have to be successful to thank her because she supports me no matter what.

Thank you, Tadenta, Siyawonga, Sukriya.

Hukama Hwe India Ne Zimbabwe, N-gahurarame, Nokusingaperi.

May I now propose a toast to the lasting and prosperous friendship of the two countries.                                 

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