Address by President Nelson Mandela at a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister Narasimha Rao of India during visit to India

25 January 1995

Prime Minister Rao;
Honourable Ministers;
Distinguished Guests:
Ladies and Gentlemen.

May I express my heartfelt appreciation at the very warm and moving welcome which the Government of India has extended to us as representatives of the South African Government.

For those who did not know history it might seem strange indeed that there should only now be a meeting of the heads of the governments of two countries held so closely by bonds of sentiment, common values and shared experience, by affinity of cultures and traditions, and by geography.

But history decreed that our peoples should be kept apart by the very same tyranny which divided South Africa and oppressed the greater part of its people. Now that we are free at last, and with your help, there is much that our governments must urgently attend to so that relations between our peoples can flourish as they always should have done. The way is now open for our countries to enter without constraint and to the full extent of their potential into mutually beneficial co-operation.

The agreements which we signed this morning have established an intergovernmental framework within which the full range of relations can be developed.

We regard the mutual adoption of fundamental principles governing co-operation and relations between our states, as being of the utmost importance as a joint commitment to the values and goals which we share.

These principles commit us jointly to strive for peace, democracy and non-racialism and they point us towards a nuclear weapons-free and non-violent world. In so doing they commit the resources and the political energies of our two great countries to furthering peace and international security throughout the world and in particular Africa and Asia.

The Joint commission of our two governments which was established by one of the agreements signed this morning, will play a key role in promoting close co-operation in the political trade, economic, cultural, scientific and technical fields. Detailed discussions in all these fields, as well as in the combatting of the international drug trade, are well advanced, and we look forward to an early signing of agreements.

A trade Agreement signed in August last year laid the groundwork for one of the objectives of our visit to your country, namely the promotion of trade and investment links between our two business communities. An expansion of economic activity on a spectacular scale is within our reach. If achieved it will contribute to the development of our countries and to the upliftment of the quality of life of our peoples. As countries at similar stages of development, we have much to offer one other in the way of relevant technology and exchange of skills.

I believe that we can look to the future not only with enthusiasm, but with confidence. Circumstances are extremely propitious.

May our countries prosper through mutually beneficial co-operation and may relations between our peoples flourish.

I thank you.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation