Your Excellency, Ahmed Abdullah Mohammed AI Shuhi, Minister of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Your Highness Sayyid Mohammed Salem AIi AI Said, Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Excellencies, distinguished guests, members of Indian community, mediapersons, Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Evening.
I extend a warm welcome to you and thank you for joining us this evening to celebrate our 67th Republic day. On this auspicious Day, I extend my warm greetings to all fellow Indians living in India, in Oman, and in other countries. Sixty-six years ago, on this day, Republic of India was born. On that day, we gave ourselves the Constitution of India, which embodied the idea of India - the idea of unity in diversity, equal respect for all religions, cultures, customs, beliefs and values, equality, social justice and non-discrimination. Our Constitution has served us well and the institutions of democracy which we have established under it have endured and ensured to all our citizens justice, equality, and equity.
We are proud of our achievements during these 66 years. India today is the world's largest and, perhaps, the most vibrant democracy. It is recognised as a global power. India's leading role in global affairs, through global and regional fora like the UN, G-20, BRICS and SAARC, has been welcomed and encouraged. India is fast emerging as a global leader in science, technology and innovation, as evident in India's achievements in space, nuclear energy,
bio-technology, information technology, medicine etc.
Excellencies, distinguished guests,
In spite of the challenges posed by global economic turbulences, India's economic growth has remained high. This year, with an estimated growth rate of 7.5 per cent, India is poised to become the fastest growing major economy of the world. The Make-in-India project, launched by PM Modi in September 2014, is expected to boost manufacturing. The Start-up India Programme, which PM Modi launched earlier this month, will foster innovation and encourage new-age entrepreneurship. The National Skill Development Mission envisages skilling 300 million youth by 2022. The Digital India Programme aims to bridge the digital divide between the urban and rural India and the rich and poor.
With investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, health, education, research and development, India is likely to continue on a high growth path, which will, in the next couple of decades, help us eliminate poverty and illiteracy, provide our people better education and health facilities and give them social security benefits. In spite of our tremendous achievements, we continue to face enormous challenges in achieving our goal of providing better life and equal opportunities to our people. Millions and millions of young and aspiring Indians, including those living abroad, are committed to overcoming these challenges and working together to build a India of their dreams.
Excellencies, distinguished guests,
India's civilizational message to the world is embodied in the prayer sarve bhavantu sukhinah, let everyone be happy. In line with its ancient belief of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam: the world is a family, India has remained committed to developing friendly, cooperative and mutually beneficial ties with other countries, including the countries in our neighbourhood. We have been working bilaterally, regionally and globally with the like-minded countries in dealing with global issues like recurring economic and financial turbulences, trade protectionism, climate change, pandemics and the scourge of terrorism, which has emerged into its most barbaric manifestation. No country can now consider itself safe from the reach of terrorist groups. There is no good or bad terrorism; it is pure evil. All the countries need to work together to defeat terrorist groups by denying them ideological space and safe havens, curbing supply of arms and finances, and sharing intelligence and best practices.
Excellencies, distinguished guests,
In 2015, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between India and Oman. A number of events were organised throughout the year to commemorate this milestone. You are familiar with these developments. So, I will not go into details. India and Oman, maritime neighbours across the Arabian Sea, have a shared history of five thousand years, which is manifested in common cultural traditions and customs.
Since renaissance in Oman, in 1970, under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said AI Said, India's relations with Oman have evolved into a strategic partnership, which is manifested in our close security and defence cooperation and growing trade and mutual investments. Cultural, tourism and educational exchanges have also been growing. Our partnership with Oman is based on shared values and traditions, excellent people-to- people relations and mutual recognition and respect for each other's interests, concerns, and priorities. Leaders of the two countries are committed to upscale
our strategic partnership to a new level.
The presence of a large Indian community in Oman is an important facet of India's relations with Oman. Indian businessmen, professionals and workers have been contributing, for decades, to the development of Oman, which has been recognized by the Government and people of Oman. The
strength of Indian community in Oman has been growing, which is an indication of the Omani Government's benign care of the Indian community.
The Indian community in Oman has also been contributing to the development of India. I would like to assure the Indian community in Oman that the Government of India is committed to do everything possible to promote their welfare. The Indian Government and the Embassy have been working closely with the concerned authorities of Oman to resolve the issues which impact on the working and living conditions of Indians living in Oman. The Embassy is dedicated to work with the Indian community and take steps which will enable timely and efficient delivery of various passport, consular and welfare services to the community. I want to thank community leaders, social workers and volunteers for their assistance and cooperation with the Embassy in dealing with community welfare issues.
Before I conclude, I would like to express our gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said AI Said for his commitment and attention to further expanding and deepening the strategic partnership between India and Oman. We wish him a long and healthy life and success in all his endeavours towards development and progress of Oman. I thank also the Council of Oman, various Ministries and organs of the Government, in particular the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Omani business community and other Omani friends of India for their contribution towards strengthening India-Oman relations. I thank you all for sparing your valuable time this evening to be with us which has made this celebration a truly memorable one. Thank you. Jai Hind.