Text of the speech by Ambassador of India to the Republic of Slovenia H.E. Mr. T.P. Sreenivasan at the time of presentation of credentials to H.E. the President of Slovenia
Your Excellency, Mr. President,
I have the honour to convey the greetings and good wishes of my President, Government and people of the Republic of India. I bring to you the personal greetings of my President and best wishes for the well being and happiness of Your Excellency and the people of the friendly Republic of Slovenia.
Permit me, Excellency, to present my Letter of Credence and the Letter of Recall of my predecessor.
Excellency, the relations between our two countries have been strengthening steadily since the establishment of diplomatic relations more than 8 years ago. However, our two peoples have known each other much longer, and we share common views on many issues of global concern. We welcome the forthcoming visit of Your Excellency to India in April this year, which will also be the first-ever state visit from either side. We are confident that the visit will serve to further enhance the exchanges and interactions between our two countries and contribute to more durable ties.
We in India appreciate and admire the smooth process of transition in Slovenia and the path of development which Slovenia has taken since independence. This is a model for other new states. As the world's largest democracy, we in India are happy to see democracy vibrant and flourishing in Slovenia. Slovenia has built a solid foundation for its economic and political development with a view to occupying a unique niche in the Europe of tomorrow.
Excellency, bilateral trade and economic ties between our two nations, though small at present, have great potential. The economic reforms initiated by us in 1991 and the efforts of successive governments have given greater scope, content and direction to this irreversible process. Industrial policy has been simplified, liberalised and made transparent, geared to promote private investments including foreign investment. External trade has been liberalised and the tariffs have been steadily reduced, while import controls that are in vogue on a few of the consumer products are also proposed to be freed within a fixed time frame. We have a huge and growing market with the world's largest middle class, abundant raw materials and highly trained and skilled manpower. Our economic fundamentals are also strong.
Excellency, we note the success of Slovenia in pushing forward highway construction, in developing Koper port, and in improving infrastructure in different parts of Slovenia. Slovenia is a front-line candidate for entry into the European Union. For India, the European Union is the largest trading partner in the world, the biggest source of direct investment, a major contributor of developmental aid and an important source of technology. We would very much welcome the opportunity to develop trade not only with Slovenia, but also to use Slovene infrastructure and port facilities as our gateway to Central, East and West Europe. We would also like to use the complementarities between our two countries to mutual benefit.
It is my pleasant task, Excellency, to carry India's message of friendship to Slovenia where it will be my hope to encourage increased trade, transit trade to other destinations in Europe, and joint venture activities. Our excellent political relations could be further cemented through greater thrust to technological and economic co-operation between our two countries. Alongside, it will be my endeavour to promote increased cultural co-operation and mutual awareness of the rich culture and heritage of both our nations. There is considerable interest in India here, as reflected in the growing number of tourists travelling to India from Slovenia. There is also interest in the student community in Sanskrit and Indian philosophy, culture art, music and dance. I am confident, Excellency, I will have your support and that of your Government towards the goal of strengthening different dimensions of our bilateral relationship in the years to come.