Toast Remarks by President Thabo Mbeki
at the State Dinner in Honour of the President of India
Shri Dr. Abdul Kalam, Cape Town 15th September 2004
Your Excellency, Dr Abdul Kalam, President of the Republic
of India and distinguished members of the Indian delegation,
Your Excellencies, Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Your Excellency, I am indeed very honoured and pleased
to welcome you and your distinguished delegation to
South Africa. We also consider this an historic visit,
Mr President, because this is the first time that as
a people we have the privilege to receive an Indian
Head of State.
We are very happy that you have been able to come to
our country as we celebrate our first decade of our
freedom. This is particularly important because of the
immense contribution made by the people of India to
the victory of our struggle for liberation.
Indeed, this could not have been otherwise because
our century-old special bonds of kinship mean that this
is your second home. It is a home for which many Indians
engaged in the historic struggle in our country to end
the period of colonialism and white minority rule on
Today both our countries and peoples are engaged in
another struggle to defeat poverty, underdevelopment
and the global marginalisation of the poor and disempowered.
Accordingly, our common goals and values are expressed
in the various Agreements that regulate our close and
friendly relations, including the Agreement that was
signed this evening. I am also pleased to recall, Your
Excellency, that we have within this context, determined
that ours is a strategic partnership.
We deeply value this relationship which, among other
things, gives us the possibility to benefit from your
exemplary determination and focus that have seen your
country emerge as a world leader in information technology,
the development of small and medium enterprises, and
It has also given us the possibility to strengthen
the collaboration between our science and technology
institutions and ensure that the joint work that they
do, makes it possible for us to respond to the social
challenges both our countries and peoples face.
Both our countries are engaged in important programmes
aimed at rural development. Together we can and must
share experiences and expertise, to ensure that the
rural poor in our countries have proper resources for
development, including access to capital, energy, transport
infrastructure and modern technology.
In this regard, Mr President, we are deeply interested
in your programme and suggestions regarding the issue
of connectivity that would build communication links
among villages and between the rural and urban areas.
Many possibilities exist for us further to strengthen
our bilateral relations in all areas. We will have to
use the bilateral institutions we have created, including
the one that will be initiated by our respective business
people next month, to pursue the common goals of prosperity
and development for both our peoples.
Precisely because of our shared values and interests,
and given India's historic commitment to the development
of the countries of the South, it has been possible
for us to join hands in the struggle for the advancement
of the interests of the developing countries and the
democratisation of the institutions of global governance.
In this regard, Your Excellency, I would like to thank
the Indian government and people for their support of
NEPAD and therefore the peoples of our continent. I
am certain that we will further deepen this collaboration
and launch new programmes that will help Africa to achieve
I am also pleased, Mr President, that tomorrow you
will have the possibility to address the Pan African
Parliament. This is right and fitting given the high
esteem that India enjoys on our continent.
Our shared vision and common purpose has also enabled
us to form the India, Brazil and South Africa Dialogue
Forum (IBSA) to enhance cooperation among our countries,
and to use our collective strength to help achieve the
goals of the Non Aligned Movement and the G77 plus China.
We will also continue to work together, Mr President,
for the restructuring and democratisation of the UN
Security Council, the rest of the UN and other multi-lateral
institutions. In this regard, we are convinced that
it is right and proper that India should join the Security
Council as one of its permanent members.
Once more, Mr President, a hearty welcome to your second
home and many thanks for honouring us with your presence.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen:
Please rise and join me in a toast to the good health
of His Excellency, President Dr Abdul Kalam, and the
strengthening of the special friendship between the
people of India and South Africa.
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency
15 September 2004