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Address by His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias at the lunch organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries

India(Nueva Delhi), 30.09.1997

I

t is a great pleasure for me to be in New Delhi today and to be able to address you all on the eve of an event that should mark the beginning of a new era in relations between our countries.

None of us here is unaware of the fact that relations between India and Spain in all spheres have, until now, been much less than what the history and importance of both countries would call for.

We have come here to break away from this inertia of reciprocal lack of knowledge, which is not in keeping with the weight your country carries on the world stage nor with the importance of Spain's reality and economy today.

Our two countries are the result of a historic path, built through the confluence and co-existence of many different cultures, and share firm democratic convictions and similar views of the world in which we live, there is much to say and more to do about widening and strengthening our economic ties.

In this year in which India is commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of its independence, countless pieces of work and comments have been published about the events that gave rise to the birth of this great nation as we know it today; is it not a great moment to push forward and make a difference?. Definitely, yes, and that is why we are here.

Within the framework of this meeting, I wish to underline the prominent role of  the Indian businessmen in the evolution of this country. It is you who, bying beyond the limits of a traditional economy, with your perception and effort, have played a major role in the important industrial development, with high growth rates, which is alredy becoming apparent in areas that are essential to your country's development. Even more so, with arguments that are convincing to your authorities, you have promoted a series of liberalising reforms which have provided access of Indian economic agents to advanced technologies and promising efficient formulas.

Thus, both the public sector and the private holdings  together with small and medium-sized enterprises co-operate, in their particular areas, with their respective approaches, in ensuring sustained progress of economic activity and the consolidation of its results. Each one of there is, in turn, the point of departure for more ambitious goals and for a system of relations befitting to the increasingly globalised and inter-dependent scenario towards which our world is heading.

We Spaniards appreciate very well the value of your initiative and the effort you have made. We too are lucky enough to have a sound and dynamic corporate sector, that strives to respond positively and imaginatively to the challenges of changing economic and social circumstances, and to the requirements of increasingly demanding international and Global Markets.

In the area that brings us together today, businessmen are an essential factor, not only in economic development and the generation of wealth, but also in the process of rapprochement among nations.

In order to enhance that process, it is necessary to deepen our reciprocal knowledge. Spain follows with interest the appropriate measures that this country has adopted in issues such as convertibility of currency and its new industrial policy, among others.

All these open up very interesting possibilities for our bilateral trade ; it is as desirable as it is necessary to see the figures  rise above the levels witnessed up until past last year.

In order to foster this we have brought with us to New Delhi Expotecnia, which  opens tomorrow after close a year of preparations and marks a great effort by the Spanish administration and enterprises alike, in the task of narrowing the distance that separates us.

For six days, over 200 companies, including of course those which are most representative of Spanish industry, will exhibit their products to Indian businessmen. The forum for corporate investment, which will be held at the same time, will complement this purely commercial work.

I wish to stress the point that Expotecnia should be the launch pad for a trip that we wish will take us a very far way. We cannot be satisfied with an isolated action, even if it is of this magnitude.

Therefore allow me to conclude by saying that in tye years to come I am sure that in the years to come, contacts between our two countries will be multiplied, and from here I encourage you to set out together and tread with optimism this new stretch of path, which we expect to bring not only considerable benefits for those directly involved in ensuring its proper development, but a future of progress and well-being for both our peoples.

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