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Address delivered by the President of the Czech Republic in India

English Pages, 7. 11. 2005

Dear Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel really honoured I may use this official opportunity and thank you, Mr. President, as well as your fellow citizens for the warm and friendly welcome extended to me and my delegation in your country.

I consider my visit to your country and particularly the development of the relations between our two countries to be extremely significant. The Republic of India, the second  most populous country in the world, is a continent of its own that has always played a special role in the development of our world. Your country is one of the cradles of human civilisation and it contributed to its wealth in practically all areas. Indian culture – from the architecture, arts, literature to philosophy and religion – has always had a profound influence on the world events.

In its thousand years long history, your country like many other states, experienced periods of wars and violence, yet, I would like to emphasize one element of its spiritual tradition that most strongly affected the rest of the world. It is the idea of tolerance and non-violence based on the religion and philosophical schools born on your territory. Tolerance and non-violence are also an important aspect of the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, the spiritual father of modern India, whose life and ideas deeply influenced in the first half of 20th century not only the history of your country but also the rest of the world. The foundations he laid down enabled India to be a stable democracy from the moment the country gained the independence, to become the largest democratic country in the world. Your country proves the universal character of democracy, it proves that a very diverse continent can be united and developed on this humanistic principle, it proves that democratic arrangement of the society provides for the solution of complicated social problems and creates conditions for fast economic growth and growing prosperity of more and more people.

Dear Mr. President, the tradition of the friendship between our two countries has been rich. Practically ever since the revival of our national independence after the end of the World War I our political, cultural and economic relations started developing. The Czech public was deeply impressed by your non-violent struggle for independence. I must remember also your great poet, Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Thakur, who visited Czechoslovakia on several occasions in 1920s and in 1930s and whose literary works, translated from Bengali into Czech already in 1920s, strongly influenced Czech culture of that period.  His verses were changed into music by the great Czech composer Leoš Janáček. We shall never forget that it was Thakur who raised his voice in defence of our country against the aggression of Nazi Germany. I am therefore very glad that during my trip I shall have the opportunity to visit Visva-Bharati University in Sankinitekan founded in 1921 by Thakur and that I shall be awarded an honorary doctorate degree there.

Mr. President, the Czech Republic is a stable developed European country that has successfully overcome the heritage of communism and found its place among the quickly developing European Union member states. We certainly do not wish our European future was developing to the detriment of the relations with our traditional partners and India undoubtedly belongs among the most important of them. We follow closely the fast and successful development record your country has lately achieved. And I am glad I shall have the opportunity to get acquainted with the success of your science and technology during our visit to the city of Bangalore. I would also like to inform you that my delegation is accompanied by a group of leading Czech businessmen and I believe that their discussions with their Indian partners will be fruitful and will contribute to the further development of our economic relations.

Mr. President, we do appreciate the role your country plays in securing stability in Asia and in global politics. In your neighbourhood there are several explosive critical spots that cause concern among the global community. We in the Czech Republic believe it is necessary to minimise such risk, to find long term solutions and we also try to contribute actively to such endeavours. In this respect our interests as well as priorities are the same.

Dear Mr. President, I am convinced my visit to your country will be yet another impulse for the development of our relations and that it will follow the best traditions of Czech – Indian friendship and partnership in all areas.

Allow me to raise the glass and propose a toast to the successful development of your country, to the happy life of your citizens, to Czech – Indian friendship and to your health and to the health of your family.

Vaclav Klaus, address delivered during the state visit to India, Presidential Palace, Delhi, 7.11.2005


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