Indian High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr A.K. Pandey the CEO of the India Club and the Chairman of the State bank of India, Mr Ghose, the General Secretary, Dr Aminath Jameel and every one present. Good morning.
Just recently an Indian investor came to me and said its very difficult to attract Indian doctors because they would need at least 300,000 Rupees a month. I almost told him who you are trying to fool! We have a fair amount of Indian doctors and we have been brought up with a lot of Indian assistance, Indian expatriates, and they have been living here for a very long time and I really haven’t seen this 300,000 Rupees at all. But I of course didn’t tell him that.
We all know that Indian expatriates, Indian professionals have assisted the Maldives for a very long time. Not just now, not just the last 30 years but for a very long time. This is the first time that we a re fortunate to be, in a sense, interacting with India in a democratic Maldives. In the past, our ideologies have not quite met with Indian ideologies and sentiments. But India being so tolerant, India being so accommodative never said anything about it. But we all know privately how the Indian professionals, how even the Indian establishment read undemocratic regimes, systems and mannerisms. We were all very confident and we always knew that a more democratic society in the Maldives would be so much easier to interact with the world’s largest democracy. So I’m fortunate enough to be interacting with the Indian community, Indian government, and Indian establishment as probably the first democratically elected leader of this country.
We are very grateful for all the Indian assistance and we will only be able to build a better society here in the Maldives with your assistance. Peaceful Maldives is very important not only for the Maldives but also for India and everyone else in the Indian Ocean. Specially, health care.- during the last so many years we have sadly neglected healthcare and providing adequate health facilities to the vast majority of the people of this country.
We have in a sense accumulated a fair amount of whatever services that we give, only to Male’, and therefore, the islands are quite lacking in services. Of the government ministries and departments, health of course and education stands at the top of the pyramid and we would give highest priority to these two government ministries and agencies.
We would like to welcome private investments, engagements in healthcare. In this regard, the government would like to thank Mr Nashid of ADK Hospital, the untiring services that his establishment and all of you who are working with him, are rendering to our community here in Male’ and elsewhere.
As the High Commissioner pointed out this would just be a beginning. We hope that it would lead to may other areas. Donating blood is just another, probably more relating to health. But you could be drawing homes, you could be giving a class, you could be teaching someone to dive, you could be doing anything. And I’m sure all of you have so many skills that you can share with the people of the Maldives. I certainly know so many Indians who are not only blessed with just one profession but they are equipped with many advantages and many skills.
We would want and we would welcome you to share these skills with us, with the people of Maldives. And I’m sure that today, Male’ will be extremely pleased to receive the services of more than 150 very good doctors. And as you can see its very early on a Friday but still people are coming in and you haven’t really quite advertised the event as such but this is going to be in high demand and the people would be pleased with the services you are giving and I certainly cannot thank you enough for all the assistance that Indian community is rendering to this country - not only the Indian government and the establishment and the Non Governmental Organisations, but also just the ordinary the Indian person.
You would know that we grew up with Indian films, Indian music, we read Indian books. The high Commissioner is kind enough to send me all the copies of Indian newspapers everyday and every week. So in our minds many times these national boundaries are quite blurred and we don’t have a hang up with nationalism. So I’m quite pleased to be with you and I’m sure many people in this country would share the same sentiments, especially our generation of people.
We want to see these engagements flourish. We want to see other engagements, more social ones, interactions and mingling of both societies, cultures, religions together. And we are of course, going to have a good time. And you can feel very much at home. We do want to facilitate you with whatever that you may require to feel at home here in the Maldives. We will be receptive. Dr Aminath Jameel will be receptive as she has been. So it’s really up to the India Club to come with your imagination and inquest the government on our limits to what will and will not allow.
I will place a bet here today, that we will let you do most things and everything that you would want to do here in the Maldives for you to feel at home. Most of the faces that I see here have been much seeing for the last 15 years at least. There is really no reason at all why you can’t have a much better time in the Maldives. This is a beautiful country and you really could be enjoying the Maldives as much as anyone else, as much as all the Maldivians. Again, thank you very much. This is very early in the morning on a Friday and I wouldn’t foist myself upon you. We politicians have a tendency to go on an on whenever we stand in front of a mike. So I will restrain myself. Thank you again and again for all the services that you are giving to this country.