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Speech by Shri R. Masakui, Ambassador of India to the Republic of Zimbabwe on the 70thRepublic Day of India celebration - 28th January 2019

Guest of HonourAmb.A.Mageza, Director for Africa & Asia Pacific
Mayor of city of Harare His WorshipCouncillor Herbert Gomba

Distinguished Guests,Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the 70th Republic Day celebration of India. This is an occasion to commemorate the values of our democracy and Republic. This is an occasion to reaffirm our commitment to liberty, fraternity and equality across Indian society and among its citizens. The Constitution of India begins with “We the people…” gave to ourselves this Constitution. The values inculcated in our democracy and our constitution-are, therefore, the values that uphold the supremacy of the people of India.

This year, a few months from today, more than 800 million people of India will celebrate the festival of democracy by voting to elect the 17th Parliament of India. In this celebration, the ideas and idealism of our democracy will come into full force. This year’s election will be the first when voters born in the 21st century will contribute to electing a new Parliament. Being the biggest democracy, the election process is at times noisy, but the transition of power, over the last seven decades, has invariably been smooth-the unseated party accepts the verdict of the people with grace and dignity.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

In the address to the nation, my President said, “No conception of India’s value can be complete without a salute to our spirit of inclusiveness-of access and opportunity for all, of an expansion and an embrace of those whom we consider our own.  Inclusiveness has been a moral multiplier. India’s pluralism is its greatest strength and its greatest example to the world. The “Indian model” rests on a tripod of diversity, democracy and development”. And today, we celebrate the constitution that accommodates these values.

Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Laureate in his famous poem said,

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

Today, awaken India celebratesthe values of that ‘Heaven of freedom’.

My President in his address also said and I quote again, “The values enshrined in Indian constitution reflect human experience on building partnerships. Partnerships at home build a family. Partnerships at work build a business. Partnerships of different stakeholders build society. Partnerships of the government and the people build our nation. And partnerships of nations build a better world.In Indian philosophy and ideal, we treat the world as a family: VasudhaivaKutumbakam”.

It is natural therefore, that India’s friendship and relationship with Zimbabwe is based on these values of mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, partnership for mutual benefits, shared history andvalues and sharedvision to build a better world.

Relationship between India and Zimbabwe is deep, profound and bound by these elements of invisibles. We share the values of democracy thatdemonstrates that humanity can be governed with freedom, that it is possible to achieve inclusive economic growth without sacrificing democracy and diversity and compromising the values of pluralism and tolerance.

Zimbabwe has just demonstrated to the world again that it can hold free and fair elections. Eight observers from India witnessed the election process and was the first observer team to make press statement commending the polls.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Vice President of India M. VenkaiahNaiduvisited Zimbabwe in November 2018. The high level visit from India to Zimbabwe took place after a gap of more than two decades and it was the first high level visit after Zimbabwe held her elections successfully in July 2018. The timing of the visit was not of convenience and random. It was well thought of, conscious and deliberate. It was a message from the government of India and its people indicating a fresh direction and new level of relationship that India accords to Zimbabwe.

Amidst the packed programme of the successful visit, the item that stole the show in India was his visit to Hero’s Acre to pay homage to Late. KantibhaiGovardhanbhai Patel, a person of India origin who has been accorded a national hero status and found a place at Hero’s acre. The event was extensively covered in electronic as well as print media in India. In his speech at community event and during the delegation level talks, Hon’ble Vice President of India expressed deep appreciation to the Government and the people of Zimbabwe for accommodating the Indian community and making them feel comfortable in Zimbabwe. 

As India celebrates our Republic Day, i take this opportunity to reaffirm India’s commitment to the friendship and relationship with Zimbabwe. Our shared democratic values with Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular that upholds the supremacy of people and inclusiveness is reflected in our respective constitutions. The concept of ‘Ubuntu’ reaffirmed by Desmond Tutu- ‘I am because you are‘ stretched further by Kenynian philosopher John Mbiti- I am because we are, since we are, therefore I am’. The values of we-ness. These values are not simply the outcome of the provisions in our respective constitutions but rather reaffirmation of the centuries-old values of our respective societies.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

I am consciously not dwelling on the substantives,facts and figures of our bilateral relationship with Zimbabwe. Since this occasion is a celebration of the values and ideals enshrined in our constitution, I take this opportunity to speak on the shared constitutional values of these two great and friendly nations.

Surely, in the words of H.E E.D Mnangagwa that ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God, Servant leadership, a listening President, setting up of National Peace & Reconciliation Commission and call for National Dialogue  are reflection and reaffirmation of these values.

India re-affirms its commitment to stand by Zimbabwe in nurturing these values to make Zimbabwe a peaceful, inclusive and prosperous nation. Weassure our support in achieving vision 2030. 

Let me conclude by conveying deep appreciation of the Government of India to the government of Zimbabwe for its unstinting support for our membership in various UN and International fora.

Let me also reiterate our appreciation to the Government and the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe for accepting and accommodating Indian community and making them proud sons and daughters of the soil. I will be failing in my duty if I do not thank Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their unwavering support to all the efforts made by this Mission. I would like to also thank officials of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Power and Energy, Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Ministry of ICT, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe among others for your support. City Council officials- special thanks to you for your support in developing our property at 25 Piers road. 

I would like to thank my colleagues in the embassy for their support and being solidly behind me. Special thanks to Pepsi (Varun Beverages) for their consistent support.  Last, but not the least, as always, a very special thanks to my beautiful wife for her unconditional support.

May I propose a toast to the good health of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe H.E E.D Mnagagwa, to the peace and prosperity of the Republic of Zimbabwe and its people and to the eternal friendship of India and Zimbabwe.

Thank you- Tadenda

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