Shri H.E. Tanmaya Lal, Joint Secretary, East and Southern Africa, MEA and Government of India Officials present,
Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Rwanda’s Honoray Consuls: Mr. Prakash Jain, for Mumbai and Mr. Mohan Suresh for Bangalore and Iqbal Mohammad, Designated Honorary Consul to Bangladesh who joined us in Delhi,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Friends of Rwanda
Ladies and Gentlemen
I would like to thank you all for gracing this important occasion for Rwanda and the Rwandan people.
I would particularly like to thank our Chief Guest for honoring us with your presence. Your gracious participation goes a long way to affirm the very strong relationship that exists between Rwanda and India.
Let me also take the opportunity to congratulate you on your recent appointment as Joint Secretary, East and Southern Africa. We look forward to working very closely with you for the mutual benefit of our two countries and people.
4 July 2015 is a dual celebration for Rwanda. We observe 53 years of Rwanda’s Independence which was attained on 1 July 1962 and celebrate 21 years of Liberation of our country and the stopping of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
We use the occasion to honor and salute the brave men and women of the Rwandan Patriotic Army for stopping the genocide and Liberating Rwanda from the genocidal regime. This is a time to reflect on and honor those who fought in the struggle for freedom and dignity and those who gave their lives to protect innocent civilians.
The theme for this year’s Liberation celebration, “Prosperity in Dignity” speaks to the achievements Rwanda has registered over the last 21 years and the continued journey to social and economic transformation.
It also emphasizes the Rwandan peoples’ enduring struggle for dignity and self-reliance, without which the country’s liberation will not be complete.
During this 21st Liberation observance, the Government and people of Rwanda commit to work even harder to build a new, reconciled, tolerant, free and peaceful society and to lay a solid foundation for stability, democracy, prosperity and improved economic status.
Rwanda has come a long way over the last 21 years. From almost a failed state in 1994, the economy has been rebuilt. In the first quarter of 2015, the country recorded a GDP growth rate of 7.6%. The fourth demographic and health survey results released in this June 2014 indicate significant reduction in maternal mortality, child and infant mortality. Overall, Rwanda has achieved almost all the Millennium Goals targets (MDGs) as set for 2015. This coupled with significant progress on poverty reduction and equitable economic growth is not a small fit for a country that had only two decades ago been devastated by genocide.
Despite this progress, Rwanda’s liberation is incomplete. Liberation for us is an on-going struggle. Our liberation will only be complete when Rwanda achieves a significant level of self-reliance, dignity for our people, stronger social cohesion and cementing of a unified Rwandan identity and once we have overcome the bad legacy of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
This we are determined to achieve. The vision and charisma of Rwanda’s leadership under H.E. President Paul Kagame assures us of the determination to continue championing and leading the Journey to total transformation of Rwanda and to building a new, democratic and progressive country.
This transformation will also be achieved within the context and unique situation of Rwanda. The future of Rwanda will be determined by the Rwandan people themselves and will not be imposed on our people by external actors. This is the true meaning of liberation and self determination.
This commitment is better captured in the words of President Paul Kagame in his speech at the 21 commemoration of the genocide of the Tutis in Kigali in April 2015 in these words: “Rwanda has changed for good and forever. We will stand up for our right to live”.
Celebration of Rwanda’s Liberation gives us the opportunity to commend the support and solidarity of the many friendly countries that have supported Rwanda. India is one of Rwanda’s solid friends. We value the excellent relationship, existing between the two countries, both at government, private sector and people to people level.
This warm friendship is well captured in H.E. President Pranab Murkhjee’s message of best wishes to President Paul Kagame and the Rwandan people on the eve of this National Day: “As Rwanda Commemorates 21 years of Liberation, India stands with the people and the Government of Rwanda in their efforts to build a harmonious society based on democracy, peace and justices for all its people” and emphasized that India and Rwanda enjoy warm and friendly relations which are reflected in our close relationship and cooperation in regional and International fora. This partnership is demonstrated in actual results like the recently commissioned Nyaborango 1 Hydro Power plant built with Indian financing, technology and Engineering, and the on-going modern Irrigation and Agriculture Export Oriented Project to mention only a few.
We look forward to a long, productive and mutually beneficial partnership.
This evening, I want to recognize those who work closely with us to strengthen Indo-Rwanda partnership. I want to recognize my Honorary Consuls who work tirelessly day and night, pro bono to build stronger bonds between Rwanda and India.
Let me recognize, Mr. Prakash Jain, Honorary Consul of Rwanda in Mumbai.
I also recognize, Mr. Mohan Suresh, Honorary Consul of Rwanda to Bangalore.
Let me also recognize Mr. Iqbal Mohammed, our designate Honorary Consul to Bangladesh.
I thank you all for the good work you do and look forward to a long time of friendship and support.
I want also to thank all friends of Rwanda in India who in their individual capacity, go out of their way to support the work of the Rwanda High Commission in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. We don’t take your dedication for granted and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I will also recognize our partners for this event. Times of Africa and Ms. Kanchi Batra and her team have done a lot for Africa in India. I thank you and encourage you to continue with the good work.
Indian Private Sector Partners especially: Overseas Infrastructure Alliance, WAPCOS, Angelique International, Jain Irrigation, and Sonalika International Limited have generously contributed to the success of this event and are Rwanda’s invaluable partners. I want to thank you and affirm that Rwanda is proud of your friendship and partnership.
Last but not least, allow me commend my team at the Embassy, both Diplomats and National Staff, Monisha Ahuja and all those who have worked on the logistical and other arrangements to make this even a success.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Speeches aside, we have a cultural event that will follow shortly. It is a cultural fusion of Rwandan traditional dances to be performed by Rwanda students from Lovely Professional University, Jalandar, Punjab and Indian Bollywood dance troupe. I would like you to enjoy this blend of two great cultures and two friendly people of Rwanda and India through culture and dance. I hope you will be able to join in this cultural fusion as the evening warms up.
But before we take off our shoes to dance, I would like to invite our Honored Chief Guest, Shri Tanmaya Lal, Joint Secretary East and Southern Africa, to say a few words if you may so wish.