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Address by External Affairs Minister to Indian Community in Dushanbe ( October 11, 2018 )

October 14, 2018

I did not think that I will meet India today evening only after reaching here. Last time I visited Tajikistan in 2014 but I could not have a meeting with the Indian community and so it felt like my visit was somewhat incomplete. Therefore when I came this time, even though the duration of my visit is very small, I came here today and I will leave tomorrow, I requested Somnath Ji, even if this is a short visit, to please make arrangements for at least one program with the Indian community. And I am very happy to come here and seeing a glimpse of whole India here in the auditorium.

We all were very happy with the Hindi of the stage compere but when Vidya Amrit welcomed us in Sanskrit, we all were pleasantly surprised. Such flawless diction, such a sweet voice, I believe that everyone present in the auditorium was mesmerized.

"Dear Vidya Amrit, I give all my blessings to you.”

After that ‘Vaishnav Jan Te’ was presented and before that there was this welcome song which is the most popular welcome song of India.

But such a beautiful presentation with such a flawless diction and with the same melody, and after that presentation of ‘Vaishna Jan Te’ really was wonderful.

I would like to give you an information that this year we have started 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi and Prime Minister had a wish that all the countries in the world should sing ‘Vaishnav Jan’ in their own language with the same melody.

We have received this song from 124 countries which includes the song from Tajikistan also. Our Official Spokesperson is present here and I would like to request him that he must include today’s recitation in that song and when it is broadcast by Doordarshan then it must include today’s recitation of ‘Vaishnav Jan’ by Ameena.

After that even though the Tajik kids were singing the song, ‘We have given our heart and we shall give our lives too for our nation’ but we all were having goosebumps. We all were remembering our countries, it was meant for every individual and their country.

Tajikistan children were singing for Tajikistan, Indian children were crooning remembering India.

Only if every child and every person has this feeling in themselves that ‘We have given our heart and we shall give our lives too for our nation.’ Its presentation just delighted the whole auditorium.

After that we had two dance performances. One was based on Ravindra Sangeet and other was Kathak presentation of Krishna Raas. I can only say that those presentations can really be categorized as unprecedented.

Whenever we talk about Central Asia we say that our relations with Central Asia are centuries old, be it cultural or historical. But today I would like to say one more thing, our relations are not only age old but they are eternally fresh also.

Today these children showed us that our centuries old relations are moving ahead with an eternal new energy. And the biggest example of this was given by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He is the only Prime Minister of India who has covered all the five countries of Central Asia in one visit only. He visited Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. He is the first prime minister to visit all five Central Asian countries in one go.

I have also visited all the five countries and everywhere, these countries which were a part of Soviet Union, when I witness the love and respect for India and Indians, it overwhelms me. All the children who have come here to study this year and earlier also must have felt it. And not only the politicians, Bollywood also plays a very big role in this.

There is this incident which I cannot forget, it happened many years ago. I came to Moscow with our Speaker’s delegation and we were walking on the road. I was wearing a Saree and had put dot on my forehead, a lady approached me and said, India-India, I said, Yes, India. And she straightaway started singing ‘Main Aawaara Hoon’ song of Raj Kapoor.

The incident that I just told you happened many years back, around 20 years but recently there was another such incident. Last month I went to Uzbekistan and there is this memorial of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent. I went there to pay my tributes. There, a very old lady approached me, later we came to know she was 83 years old, she came to me and asked, India? I said, yes. So first she sang ‘Awaaraa Hoon’ then she started singing ‘Ichak Dana Bichak Dana, Daane Upar Dana.’

I called the Ambassador there to find her residence as she had already left. I said find her residence and please give her this gift on my behalf, a gift was then delivered to her at her residence.

This feeling of kinship and love that Central Asia has for India that did not develop without a reason. It developed because our family values and our culture are similar to each other. It is because of those family values that these countries find kinship with India and similarly India does for them.

The children who have come here for studies definitely must be sensing it but those who have been here since so many years for business or who have come here to teach must also be feeling the same.

I would like to say that the India’s relations with these countries reached a new high during the tenure of present government and in future it will go even higher.

If you look at it, so many high level visits have happened in such a short time. The Prime Minister had been here, the President returned from here just a day back and this is my second visit. Apart from this, the ministers from other ministries of India have also come here.

It tells us, Central Asian countries which includes Tajikistan, what is the importance of Tajikistan for us, these countries are very important countries for us. And therefore the happiness that I felt after coming here, I don’t have words to explain that. I am taking that feeling back with me because that feeling can be experienced only, it cannot be explained.

Somnath Ji, I am very grateful to you. My congratulations and best wishes to all the children who made these presentations.

We would definitely like to have a photo session with these artists. I know that people present in the auditorium would later scramble for selfie. We are sitting here, it would be better if we can call them on stage row by row and click photograph here only so that they will get easily get a photograph which will also be a souvenir for them.

Thanks a lot.
Namaskar!

Disclaimer: EAM’s Speech was delivered in Hindi. This is an approximate translation of Speech.

Dushanbe
October 11, 2018

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