High Commissioner of India to the Maldives, His Excellency Sunjay Sudhir,
Chief Justice Uz Ahmed Muthasim Adnan,
Honorable Ministers, Honorable Members of the Parliament
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalaamu Alaikum and a very good evening,
It gives me great pleasure to join this special event held on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Independence of India. I take this opportunity to extend, on behalf of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and the people of the Maldives, warm greetings and sincere best wishes to the President of the Republic of India His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi,and the friendly people of India on this joyous occasion.
75 years ago, on this day, India was declared an independent country after being under colonial rule for more than two centuries. Indeed, India’s road to independence was not a smooth one. It was a long and grueling struggle which lasted for decades. Today is a date to reminisce the invaluable efforts and sacrifices of great leaders who fought for freedom. Today we remember one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi who guided India towards its independence and left a significant mark on the history of India. Not only did he contribute to the freedom of India but also left innumerable lessons in the process from which, generations to come will continue to benefit and value.
Over the last 75 years, India has made remarkable strides in its journey of development. 75 years since independence, India has emerged as the largest and most diverse democracy in the world. India’s exemplary achievements in diverse fields makes the country stand out among other nations. Emerging as a global power, India continues to expand its prominent role in the international arena. The journey from a colonial country to a leading sovereign nation is enormous and it’s an inspiration not only to its neighbors but to the whole world as well. The Maldives is indeed very fortunate to have India as our neighbor and as our closest bilateral partner.
Maldives-India relations date back centuries. When the Maldives gained independence from the protectorate status under the British, India was among the first to recognise the Maldives as a sovereign state. Since then, our relations have been strengthened and nurtured through cooperation in various areas. The last three years, it has been especially remarkable. Under the administration of President Solih, India-Maldives friendship has reached new heights. The frequency of high-level visits increased prominently and our development cooperation has broadened in numerous areas during the last years.
For us, India is our closest friend, our leading development partner, our first responder. In the long history of our relations, India has always extended assistance whenever we were in need.
The assistance provided for the development of the social sector, especially the High Impact Community Development Projects under India’s assistance has strengthened the Government’s decentralization efforts to bring nationwide development, rather than focusing on the central Male’ region, as has been the prevalent practice in the past. I am confident that these Projects will pave way for the empowerment of local communities and improve the quality of their livelihoods.
With the world dealing with unprecedented times, the past year has been a challenging year for our nation as well. The Covid-19 pandemic caused major disruptions in various social and economic aspects of our life. For a country heavily reliant on tourism, socio-economic impacts were devastating. India once again proved to be our closest partner whom we can rely on in difficult times.
From assisting in evacuation of our nationals in Wuhan to donating essential medicines and essential food items, India’s support for us has been tremendous on all fronts. India also supported our vaccine efforts by granting 200,000 doses of COVID19 vaccine as the first recipients outside India. I take this opportunity to thank the Government of India for the generous assistance extended to us during these challenging times.
Ours is a relationship that is unique - one that is bound by tradition, history, values. Ours is a relationship that is very special. Ours is a relationship of people – one that goes beyond official exchanges. For, the strength of our relationship lies, not only in our shared interests but our shared understanding of our concerns.
India has always been as our dearest friend. Indeed, our relations hold a special place for both the countries.
As the years go by, our long-lasting friendship continues to prosper.
The Maldives remains committed to enhance the partnership we share with India.
We will always cherish this relationship. We will continue to uphold this friendship.
Thank you very much.
And have a blessed evening.