I welcome you all to the Curtain Raiser, commencing the 75thweek countdown to 75thanniversary of India’s independence which will fall on 15August 2022.The celebrations span two years and during the course of this time span, we will be hosting a series of events in partnership with the Government, and the people of Sudan, and its agencies; the Embassies and International organisations; the Indian community as well other resident communities. India@75 is a universal and path-breaking grassroot vision for India shared by countrymen from all geographies and all walks of life. It entails a holistic three dimensional development of India to acquire enough economic strength, technological vitality and moral leadership by 75 years of independence to actively shape the new world order.Under the leadership of PM Modi it aims to transform the country into a “New India” that would fulfil the dreams of the young and women, all Indians to have access to basic amenities, and see the income of farmers double under the mission mode of Atmanirbhar Bharat that is self-reliant India. With a new mission to Unify India (Bharat Jodo), Indians have resolved to get rid of various differences like caste and religion, and divisive forces like corruption and terrorism. India’s strategy for India @75 is based on the philosophy of inclusive growth “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” (roughly meaning Collective efforts, inclusive growth) to lead India to ‘Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat’ (EBSB) that is One India unique India.
2. 74 years ago,India’s illiterate and poor masses inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s message and I quote
“Freedom is never dear at any price, it is the breath of life” unquote
and adopting his principles of peace and nonviolence were able to obtain freedom. Since then India’s progress as an independent country has been really remarkable by any standards. The largest democracy on earth, has made tremendous strides in all walks of life – be it areas of governance & public services; socio-economic development; advances in industrial, scientific and technological fields including hi-tech and frontier areas of space, IT&AI, renewables, peaceful uses of nuclear energy etc. Indian economy, the 3rd largest in PPP terms in the world today, is well poised to become USD 5 trillion economy by 2025.The flagship schemes of national renewal like ‘Make in India’ Smart Cities’ ‘Skill India’ ‘Stand up India’ reinforced by forging robust and sustainable partnerships in technology, innovation and funding are making India count on the global stage.
3. In India’s growth story, the role of Indian diaspora has been very important. They have been instrumental in spreading Indian culture and values in their respective countries. With their achievements in various fields, they have brought glory to the motherland and raised India’s stature in the international arena.
4. Indians are naturally internationalist by virtue of our culture, traditions, heritage and history. Though, a strong nationalism drove our freedom struggle and the subsequent endeavours at nation building; the same also reinforced our internationalism and a strong solidarity with other nations, including Sudan who similarly struggled for their freedom. And here I would like to quote from the famous tryst with destiny speech of Pt. Nehru, India’s first PM: And I quote
The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. (of course he is referring to Mahatma Gandhi) And so we have to labour and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for anyone of them to imagine that it can live apart.
5. Thus, India has always been a strong votary of international cooperation and solidarity. We believe that the international community has greater expectations from us and we, in turn, are prepared to shoulder greater responsibilities. A case in point is the ongoing pandemic. From the very beginning, India has believed that it threatens the entire humanity and the world needs a collective response. India on its part never found wanting in extending a helping hand. From meeting global demands on our pharmaceutical and medical capabilities despite our own huge domestic requirements. We supplied 150 nations with medicines, to 82 of them as grants, including Sudan whose consignment is awaiting approval of the concerned Sudanese authorities. Similarly, for the safety and diagnostic kits and then Vande Bharat evacuation missions-wherein we brought back nationals of other countries while looking after our own. And now the Vaccines, under India’s Vaccine Maitri initiative as promised by Prime Minister Modi in his virtual address to the UN General Assembly in September 2020 when he said that India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis. To date, we have supplied nearly 65 million doses of ‘Made-in India’ vaccines to 83 countries across geographies, which also includes 18 million doses to WHO’s Covax initiative and under which Sudan has also been covered.
6. This generous approach is so characteristic of our culture –which talks of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbkam’ i.e. the world is one family and sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ meaning May All be Happy. Driven by ethos of mutual sharing and empowerment and south-south cooperation, India has shared funds, technology and expertise with countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. When it comes to Africa, we raised the level of our cooperation very substantially at the IAFS-3 Summit in 2015 and beyond.
7. The presence of our Sudani friends this evening have enhanced our celebrations and joy manifold, and have made them more meaningful. India and Republic of Sudan have civilisational and close bilateral relations and people to people connect. India takes pride in the strides made by Sudanese youth and women in the last few years following the path of Silmiya-silmiya, which translates into peaceful and non-violence, the values inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. We are and will always stand by their goal of salama, Hurriya and adaala that is peace, freedom and justice. Earlier, we have given 100 MT of food grains to overcome the shortages due to the pandemic and the floods. Another consignment of 2000 MT is soon going to be on its way to Sudan and I have already talked of an essential and life-saving medicine consignment awaiting approval. India is a contributing country to IMF, so we are also sharing in the debt relief being given by IMF and may be others. With our approach to help liberate the capabilities of partner countries and not to constraint them, we are ready to help Sudanese people in whatever way we can.
8. Last but not the least, I once again thank you all for joining in these celebrations and look forward to your continued helping hand in the extended celebrations of India @75 over next couple of years in a befitting manner in Sudan to further cement our bonds of friendship and brotherhood and deepen our multi-faceted cooperation.