I am happy to share with you the growth trajectory of India. It is pleasure for me to see you all here with us for celebrating of India’s 72nd Independence Day which was achieved after immense sacrifice by great men and women of our country. Please allow me to share with you all on this historic day the sense of pride and glory of our Independence.
Since independence in 1947, India has made notable achievements in diverse fields, including atomic energy, space science, agriculture, bio-technology and, of course, information technology, for which India and Indians are well-known world over.
One of the oldest civilization, largest democracy, 1.3 billion people, 5th largest economy amounting GDP to $2.6 trillion in 2017 has placed us among the fastest growing economy of the world today. According to the IMF, India is projected to generate growth of 7.4 per cent this year and 7.8 per cent in 2019. In the first quarter of 2018 Indian GDP growth rate was 7.7%. After breaking into top 100 on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index last October, India has marked a similar success on United Nation's E-Government Index. World Health Organisation has praised the scheme Swachh Bharat Mission as a remarkable sanitation programme.
Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is making rapid progress in diverse sectors. India has an open business environment with a “red carpet” for entrepreneurs and investors. The Indian economy offers unique advantages of a huge domestic market, plentiful skilled human resources at lower cost.
Diplomacy for Development’ has contributed energetically to the agenda of India’s transformation. Intensified engagements with leading global economies including Africa and businesses have brought more than $200 billion investments in to the country over the past four years. Apart from fuelling the country’s rapid economic growth, these investments have helped to establish new factories, generate additional services and create hundred thousands of jobs. Through our unprecedented diplomatic outreach we have formed scores of partnerships for Make in India, Skill India, Smart Cities, Digital India, Start-up India and other national programmes that will help build a New India by 2022. Our proactive foreign policy has a human face. India’s helping hands have reached tens of thousands of our citizens in distress the world over, even in severe cyclones and raging conflicts. From intense fighting in Yemen, over 4,700 Indians and over 1,900 foreigners belonging to 48 countries were evacuated.
India’s growing prestige and stature have enhanced the sense of pride of Indians everywhere in the world. Their joy in associating with India and its priceless and timeless heritage has boosted manifold.
India is seen as a strong votary of inclusiveness, a voice of reason and balance, and the flagbearer of multilateralism which can effectively answer the needs of an increasingly interdependent, interlinked and multipolar world. It is, therefore, not at all surprising that India is a preferred partner and trusted friend globally.
India has always stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Africa in addressing the challenges it has been faced with. We have worked with commitment for capacity building, infrastructure development, connectivity and trade and investment in Africa. It is with this commitment that we have scaled up our development cooperation programme in Africa through institutionalise mechanism of the India-Africa Forum Summit.
Recently Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has enunciated the 10 Guiding Principles for India’s Engagement with Africa which focused on African priorities, capacity building, skill development, agriculture, trade, peacekeeping, security, youth development and representative & democratic global order in the global institution for India and Africa.
India has a long standing close and multifaceted relationship with Botswana. India and Botswana have a very strong and unique friendship. Our mutually beneficial partnership, driven by our common interests, is a perfect example of South-South Cooperation.
Partnering with countries such as Botswana is an important pillar of India´s foreign policy and approach to inter-State relations. In our own limited way, we share with Botswana our technologies, academic knowledge and experience to assist Botswana’s march to national development.
India’s cooperation with Botswana is based on “3 T pillar” i.e. Training & Capacity Building, Trade & Investment, Transfer of Technology & Experience sharing. The most important aspect of our relationship is Human Resource Development i.e. Skill Development & Capacity Building. India is providing a lot of support for capacity building through its ITEC, ICCR programmes. Botswana is utilising approximately 140 ITEC slots per annum.
Another important aspect of our relationship is people to people contact and investment. Indian companies are the largest private sector investor after the diamond sector and the largest local job providers after the government. Bilateral trade has shown considerable improvement over the last three years. The trade has increased more than 26% in the year 2017-18 where total trade stood at USD 1.75 billion.
Our shared aspirations of development and prosperity for our people can be achieved if our two great democracies work hand in hand for the years to come.
In conclusion the partnership that India seek with Botswana is one which would enhance technical collaboration, transfer of technology and greater participation by the largely young and dynamic populations of both India and Botswana.
*High Commissioner Dr. Rajesh Ranjan’s speech at reception on the occasion of Celebration of 72nd Independence Day of India on 15 August 2018