July 13, 2015
Your Excellency President Emomali Rahmon
Excellency, thank you for your warm welcome and hospitality. Thank you for the sentiments that you have expressed for India. These are truly precious gifts of friendship.
Excellency, you have led your nation through the uncertain first steps of independence and transition. You have guided your people through challenges to put Tajikistan on the path of prosperity. Your leadership has helped advance stability in a critical region.
Excellency, we also deeply value your friendship towards India. Your five visits to India is of a proof your commitment. Even more, you have given concrete shape to the idea of a strategic partnership.
This is the last leg of my visit to all five great nations of Central Asia.
And, as it usually happens, I have saved the most special place for the last.
Tajikistan is the closest Central Asian neighbor – separated by a narrow strip of land.
There was a moment in history when much of India and Tajikstan were one.
Since then, Amu Darya and Ganga have nurtured life in our respective countries.
But, across our mighty mountains, Indians and Tajiks have shaped each other through the ages.
We see it in relics of Buddhism in Tajikistan. We feel it in our daily lives. We see it in the landscapes of our cities.
We hear it in the familiar words of our languages. We experience it in the writings of Sheikh Sadi and Abdul Qadir Bidel, whose grave is in Delhi. We recall the inspiring poetry of Mirzo Tursunzade on the India of 1947.
President’s own chronicle, “Tajikistan in the mirror of history – from Aryan to Samanids” recalls our ancient relationship.
Your love for our cinema and the popularity of Hindi here tell us that we do not just live in proximity; we are also close in spirit.
Just two events today speak clearly of the strength of our human bonds – a place of honour for Rabindranath Tagore in Dushanbe and the release of the Hindi Edition of Tajik historian Dr. Bobojon Gaffurov’s “Tajikon”.
They bear witness to our timeless links, but also to the unity of values and aspirations.
They also tell us that because we influence each other so much, we must work together closely.
Excellency, as Gurudev Tagore said, civilisations must be judged not by the amount of power it has developed, but how much it has evolved and given expression to the love of humanity.
This is the vision that brings India and Tajikistan together
Excellencies, we work together for peace and stability in our region. We support the cause of a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan. We are partners in combating terrorism.
Our cooperation for the progress of our two countries is also growing. We have worked together in human resources development. And, we have also built a modest but growing economic partnership.
Today, President Rahmon and I have attended a large workshop to promote cooperation in agriculture and support farmers in our two countries. We will also expand our trade and investment ties as also our development partnership.
Connectivity between India and Central Asia, including Tajikistan, will grow in the years ahead. We should be inspired by our ancestors who could not be held back by the tallest mountains.
That has been the focus of my visit in the region. India’s membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation adds a new dimension to our engagement.
My visit to Tajikistan will be the start of a new journey for our relations.
Excellency, we must also remember that we belong to an age of entirely new opportunities for development and prosperity; and, new possibilities of partnership.
As Bidel urged us,
The sea of time and place, for you, is but one gulp
Limit not your boundless imagination”
Imagination will not be a constraint for us. With your guidance and leadership, Excellency, and the strength of goodwill between our people, we will take our relationship to new heights.
To share a meal with you on the last day of my journey is a special joy for me.
With these words, let me ask you to join me in raising a toast to:
To the good health and well being of President Rahmon
To peace, progress and prosperity for the friendly people of Tajikistan
To the everlasting friendship between India and Tajikistan.