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Address by President at Indian Community Event in Tajikistan

October 09, 2018

My dear Indian friends,
Special Tajik friends of India,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Hello to all of you and Salom,

  • Firstly, I thank all of you from the depths of my heart for this warm welcome. I am very happy to visit Tajikistan and to meet all of you today. We have special and historical links with this country. As the President of India this is my first visit to this beautiful country and to the Central Asia. But, I am connected with the Tajik people and their culture with one another very special way, which I want to share with you.
  • When I was the governor of Bihar, at that time I had an opportunity to deeply know the humanitarianism of the great Persian poet 'Bedil'. He was born in Patna, the state capital of Bihar. People of Tajikistan like him very much and are very fond of his poetry.
  • I have a meeting with President Rahmon tomorrow, and I will be discussing ways to further enhance India-Tajik relations with him. He is a close friend of India, and he has given his unwavering support to the mutual relations between India and Tajikistan.
  • I had a very warm and loving welcome in Dushanbe. When you meet your people, your brothers and sisters in another country, then you feel a deep affection for them. In many parts of the world, wherever I went, I got the opportunity to meet and address the Indian community there. I want to tell you that it is very delightful to meet our people in this way, and these feelings are safely preserved in my heart.

    Ladies & gentlemen,

  • I have been told that the Indian diaspora is not big here, but it is their specialty that they are not only closely mingled among themselves but also with Tajik people. Just now during my welcome ceremony few Tajik and Indian youth have presented a beautiful Indian cultural program. This magnificent presentation is a clear proof of this amity and it has captured my heart. I am most pleased to see that there is a lot of interest in knowing about Indian culture, language, dance and music in this country. Indian cinema and Bollywood stars are very popular here. If we consider why it is so, perhaps it is because we have similar lifestyles in both the countries, and because of that we understand each other easily.
  • There is a lot of cultural similarity between Tajikistan and India. This similarity can be seen in our eating habits, music, attire and language. Our Indian brothers and sisters living here will be happy to see and feel about it.
  • For centuries, ideas, philosophy, thought, and religion have been exchanged between India and Tajikistan. Tolerant humanitarian traditions have flourished in both countries. The great emperor Kanishka is equally respected here as much as in India. Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism also flourished in this country. Through the 'Silk Route', and through the river valleys and hilly tracts, Tajik art and crafts, commerce and trade have had access to India. This afternoon, when I was coming to Tajikistan by an airplane, I was very happy to see that not only history, but geography also has been helpful in developing mutual relations between the two countries. If we see from the sky, it looks as if the huge Pamir plateau is moving towards Himalaya with open arms to embrace it.

    Ladies & gentlemen,

  • I am told that a large number of Indian diaspora in this country consists of medical students and professionals. I am happy that you have earned reputation for yourself here with your hard work and integrity. Many of you will soon complete your education here and return to our country, and will start contributing to our health and wellbeing.
  • I am glad that you have kept your cultural traditions alive in this country. I have been told that you all celebrate Holi, Diwali, Eid and other Indian festivals here with full gusto and enthusiasm. There was a time when our Indian community was flourishing in Khujand, Panjkand, Samarkand, Bukhara and other great cities on the Silk Route. These cities are not far away from here. Just as you celebrate festivals and fairs today, they would have been celebrating similarly as well.

    Ladies & gentlemen,

  • Today India is the world's fastest growing major economy, which is growing at a rate of 7.8 percent. Our economic reforms and development-based governance have started showing good results. Within a span of 4 years only, we have electrified more than 18000 villages in remote areas and have provided electricity to every village of India. With this achievement, India has climbed 73 places to 26th position in World Bank’s list of Access to Electricity. Flagship government programs including 'Make in India', 'Swachh Bharat' 'Start Up India' and 'Digital India', are rapidly moving ahead. Through our 'Ujjwala' program we have made available clean LPG to 50 million households. We have provided financial assistance to millions of people through our ‘Mudra’ scheme and highest number of beneficiaries have been women in the scheme. Through the International Solar Alliance, we are uniting the world to fight climate change.
  • Today, a new energy is visible in India. I urge you to seek opportunities in India and in your own way contribute to its economic development.
  • We are celebrating 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi in the whole world this year. On 2nd October, Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention was held in Delhi in memory of Bapu, in which Tajikistan also participated. I hope all of you will take the message of venerable Bapu, in all the four directions with full zeal. I too am looking forward to tomorrow, when I will get the opportunity to offer respect to his statue in Dushanbe here.
  • Our development reflects the new confidence of our country. We have significantly expanded our international relations. Since ages, we have followed 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' and have considered the whole world as our own family. That is why, we have not only rescued our people, who have been stranded in extreme circumstances or natural calamities, but we have also extended helping hand to other needy people. In the last 4 years, we have been able to safely evacuate more than 90,000 civilians stranded in foreign countries. These include citizens from more than 50 countries.
  • In the last few years, you may have felt that there has been a major change in our government's approach to expand its reach and connect with our overseas Indian community. Emotional, cultural, economic and institutional relations between India and Indians settled abroad have become deeper in these years. We have started 'Know India-Quiz' for better contact with our people settled abroad. We have instructed our missions that they should be available 24X7 to help the needy.
  • We believe that our Overseas Indian Community is our key partner to strengthen our international reach. The role of every Indian here is important to spread the message of India. Yes, it is true that we have appointed our ambassadors here, but we consider every Indian here as our cultural ambassador. We believe that you will make our relationship with Tajikistan closer. Next year, we are celebrating Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Varanasi from January 21 to 23. I invite you all to attend the event..
  • To our Tajik Friends present here, I want to say that India will continue to give its cooperation to Tajikistan in capacity building and development works. I deeply appreciate the work of teachers, professors and experts of Indian languages ​​and Indology in this country. I am very happy to give Padmashree award to the famous Indologist of Tajikistan Professor Habibullah Rajabov for his contribution to education and literature this year.
  • Finally, I urge all of you to contribute fully in deepening the partnership between these two great nations.

Thank You.
Long live India.

October 07, 2018

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