بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
His Excellency Shri Rajeev Shahare, High Commissioner of India to the Maldives, Diligent staff at the High Commission of India, Invitees, Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am greatly honored to be a part of this reception held to inaugurate this week-long celebration of the special friendship between the Maldives and India. It is also my distinct honor and privilege to convey to Your Excellency, the Government and the people of India, warm greetings and sincere good wishes from President Yameen, the Government, the people of the Maldives and in my own name.
While I have every confidence that the “Dosti-Ekuverikan Week” will be a tremendous success, I recall that successive editions of the India-Maldives Friendship Week had played a crucial role in bringing our two countries and peoples closer together. The impressive array of events that are lined up for the coming week will, no doubt, attract tremendous interest from among all well-wishers of Indo-Maldives relations.
I must state that there is something for everyone on the brochure. I applaud the High Commissioner and his team for putting together these dynamic and colorful events!
Different tastes from the various regions of India can be experienced at Lime Restaurant here in Traders Hotel. Top box office Bollywood movies can be viewed at Shwack Cinema. For those in search of health for both body and mind, the Yoga Workshop at Artificial Beach will be of interest. The colorful performances at the Indian Cultural Night at Dharubaaruge will surely attract large crowds. I am sure that many will take the ultimate test of knowledge by participating in the Dosti Quiz on Indo-Maldives friendship. Children too can participate by showcasing their skills at the National Painting Competition for School Children.
In addition to the cultural events, “Dosti-Ekuverikan Week” also includes a welcome social collaboration effort that would greatly benefit our people. The health and welfare sector has, of course, long been a pillar upon which bilateral ties between the two countries have been forged. The Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital –a lasting reminder of the special friendship, the scores of Maldivian medical professionals trained in India, the popularity of India as a medical tourism destination for our patients, and the numbers of medical professionals serving here in the Maldives all add to the pertinence of the planned medical camp for the week. I understand that a free eye camp at IGMH and Hulhumale’ Hospital is the major highlight of the week.
High Commissioner, Ladies and Gentlemen;
2015 is, of course, a special year for the Maldives. On 26th July 2015 we will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of our Independence. Later in the year, we will, similarly celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the establishment of diplomatic relations with India. While our two peoples have interacted in various fields over many centuries, the milestone of fifty years of diplomatic ties is certainly worthy of celebration. It is also an auspicious occasion for a renewal of our collective resolve to keep advancing Indo-Maldives ties in the time ahead.
This Government will safeguard the existing strong relations with India, and work to take relations to new heights. We will ensure this through regional and international collaboration, ensuring the development of both our countries.
Our Government and people cherish our dear neighbor India as a special friend, a very close ally and a key development partner. The friendship between the Maldives and India is centuries old. In culture, ethnicity and outlook, there are long-standing historical bonds between our peoples. India can surely count on the sincere gratitude of our people for the ever-present, ever-reliable friendship, support and assistance.
I take this opportunity to portray the beautiful nation of India in words of one of Her own famous poets, Mirza Ghalib has said;
“Hindustaan ki bhi ajab sar zameen hai,
Jis mein wafa-o-mehr-o-mahabbat ka hai wafoor,
Jaise ke aaftaab nikhalta hai sharq se,
Ikhlaas ka hua hai isi mulk se zahboor.
Hai asl-e-tukhm Hind se, aur zameen se,
Phaila hai sab jahan mein yeh mewa door door.”
Let me offer the translation of this beautiful poem, in reciprocation of Your Excellency’s beautiful words;
“Wondrous is the Indian soil, fruitful and fertile,
Faith, kindliness and love, bloom on every side.
As the East is the source of the sun and light,
India is the ancient home of sincerity undefiled.
It was here the seed was sown, here it fructified,
And from here the fruit spread to distant shores and isles.”
I wish to conclude by conveying my heartfelt best wishes for the success of the “Dosti-Ekuverikan Week”. I wish lasting peace, prosperity and progress to the peoples of our two countries.
I thank you!