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Toast by His Royal Highness the Prince of Asturias at the dinner given by the Vice-president of the Republic of India

India(Nueva Delhi), 29.09.1997

A

llow me, firstly to thank you so very much, Mr. Vice-President, for your words and for your kind invitation to visit the Republic of India. I cannot but point out the extremely pleasant and very special memory their Majesties the King and Queen of Spain have of their visit in 1982. Also my own memory as you already know about from frecuent  visits to your country in my childhood and, most recently, that of Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of the demise of Mother Teresa, whose memory will always remain with us; All prove how close India is to our hearts.

It is therefore a reason for special satisfaction for me to be here, precisely in the year in which the country is commemorating its fiftieth anniversary of independence.

Over the course of the past fifty years India has successfully consolidated itself as a sound democracy and has succeeded in preserving the unity of the country, while respecting its broad diversity of peoples and regions.

By choosing India for 1997, the Spanish government, which has held Expotecnia in a different country each year,  wished to join in the celebrations in a visible and notable manner and, at the same time, underline its commitment to continuing to build increasingly fruitful political, commercial and cultural relations between our two countries.

India is perceived in Spain as a country that is set to play an increasingly important role on the world stage, as befits its history, its cultural tradition, its natural resources, the human potential of its people and its clear democratic will.

At the same time, the opening-up of the economy, a process begun by India in 1991 which has aroused such great interest throughout the world, has by no means gone unnoticed in our country. The holding of Expotecnia 97 in India is also recognition of the fact that your country, Mr. Vice-president, can today be a privileged trade partner for Spain.

But Expotecnia is also intended  to be the mirror of a modern and industrially well-developed Spain which is in an optimum position to supply much of what India needs at this stage of its development. It is an opportunity for businessmen from both our countries to meet and undertake joint projects that will, undoubtedly, benefit both. In time this will, no doubt, bring about greater reciprocal knowledge between India and Spain. Mr Vice-president, I propose a toast to this Expotecnia 97 which we will be opening the day after tomorrow; may it be but the first step toward ever growing rapprochement and increasingly better relations between our two countries.

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