Namaskar to all of you,
I bring you the warmest greetings from India.
I thank all of you for welcoming me and my delegation with such warmth and affection. I am accompanied by Shri Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries and Shri Ramvichar Netam, Member of Parliament Upper House (Rajya Sabha).
I am extremely delighted to visit this beautiful city of Moroni, in the warm waters of Indian Ocean. I am thankful to the Government of Comoros for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
From tomorrow, I look forward to a fruitful interaction with President Azali Assoumani and his Cabinet Ministers and the Hon'ble Speaker of the National Assembly and other distinguished ladies and gentlemen from Comoros.
Sisters and Brothers,
I am aware that the Comorians of Indian origin have been in Comoros for over the past 100 years. I am glad to know that Comorian brothers and sisters have accepted you as a part of their larger Comorian family with great warmth and affection, due to which you have settled down well in this country.
I am impressed to learn that Comoros has a small but active Indian diaspora and am happy to note that despite being only about 250 in number, you have made significant contribution in various fields, including social and economic.
Some of you have attained positions of excellence in your respective professions. I am extremely happy to note that you are providing leadership in varied sectors.
I am happy to know that the Indian cultural heritage has been kept alive by you and that most Indian festivals are celebrated by the entire community.I am happy that the Indian community enjoys a reputation of being peace-loving community and has been able to assimilate well with the locals.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
You all must be keeping abreast of the economic developments and social transformation that is taking place in India.
As you all know, despite the global slowdown, India continues to be one of the fastest growing large economies and aspires to become a US$ 5 trillion economy by 2024-25. The Government has initiated several measures to boost economic growth. Only recently, the corporate tax has been slashed steeply, which is expected to spur investments.
Doing business in India is not only lucrative to investors but is also becoming simpler. India has jumped 65 positions on the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index and isnow placed at 77th rank among 190 countries. Our policy is now that of 'Red Carpet' and not'Red Tape', many archaic regulations are being dismantled and seamless processes are being introduced.
I am sure all of you must be following the developments and transformation taking place in todays New India under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who has received a clear mandate from people for a second term in office.
The Edelman Trust Barometer for 2018 said that India is among the most trusted nations globally when it comes to government, business, NGOs and media.
A host of path breaking reforms has been initiated, including the transformational tax reform, the Goods and Services Tax (GST),that complies with One Nation-One Tax, One Nation-One Market approach.
The tax base has widened and tax compliance has improved considerably with a jump of 80.5% taking assesses to 6.85 Crore in 2017-18.
Propelled by the mantra of "Reform, Perform and Transform, India has become one of the most open economies of the world for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
India is also augmenting its infrastructure at an unprecedented rate. Almost 27 km of National Highways and 134 Kms of rural roads are being built every day.
India is now the world's third largest aviation market. The UDAAN scheme that envisages affordable air travel, has added 40 more airports to the already existing 103 airports.
An ambitious plan to build next-generation infrastructure including 100 Smart Cities, 10 green-field airports, 7 high-speed train corridors, 5 major ports, highways and nation-wide broadband connectivity linking our villages and urban areas is underway.
Under Bharatmala Pariyojana, 60,000 kms of Nation Highways are being built. On the renewable energy front, we have set a target to produce 175 Gigawatt of clean energy by 2022.
We have provided electricity in more than 2.47 crore houses under the Pradhanmantri Saubhagya Yojana. All villages are now electrified in India.
Our youth are driving the digital revolution and powering the start-up ecosystem. The Start-up India flagship initiative is nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
Three Ds which are Democracy, Demand and Demographic Dividend are scripting Indias story. Indian Diaspora is the fourth D in the picture. We want you to join India's journey towards growth and prosperity.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Africa has been accorded top priority by government of India and declared as a focus continent. our relations with Africa has intensified in the last 5 years. An unpresented 32 outgoing visits have taken place at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister. Nearly 100 African leaders have visited India including 41 for the India Africa Summit (IAFS III).
We have decided to open 18 new embassies in africa tking the total number of Indian missions in Africa to 47. Our trade has registered 12% increase from the previous year and is at US $ 69 billion. India is now the 5th largest invester in Africa with a cumulative investments of US $ 54 billion.
During India Africa Summit III, Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi ji had announced $10 billion of Line of Credit,600 million grant and 50,000 scholarships for Africa over a period of 5 years.We have already approved/ implemented $ 6.5 billion worth of Line of credits. 700 million grants exceeding the target and given over 40000 scholarships.
Our assistance is demand driven and is based on terms and conditions that are reasonable and comfortable and do not create indebtedness.
You are already aware of the various steps that Government of India is taking towards enhancing our relationship with Comoros.
Tomorrow, when I am meeting Hon'ble President of Comoros, we will be signing some important and landmark agreements. An important development is the setting up of a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) here.
The VTC will give the much needed fillip to upgrading the skills of Comorian youth in several sectors.
Comoros is rich in natural resources and we are happy to assist in value addition of their rich resources, so that the Comorian economy becomes self-reliant.
Sisters and Brothers,
It is indeed a great pleasure be here in Africa, where Mahatma Gandhi lived for more than 20 years and drew sustenance for his fight against discrimination and colonial domination with nothing but truth and non-violence as his weapons.
Gandhiji was an inspiration to all mankind.
It is in South Africa that Mahatma Gandhi spent more than two decades. It was also in South Africa that he came across severe discrimination, apartheid and gross injustice being perpetrated on human beings.
As we pay tribute to the great Mahatma on his 150th birth anniversary, we should not forget for a moment that it was this soil of Africa which gave the nourishment and inspiration and made Mahatma Gandhi what he was. It was Africa that transformed his vision and gave greater clarity to his life's mission.
Before, I conclude, I would like to share with all of you, about the forthcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas of 2021. You all are cordially invited to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas.
I would like to thank each one of you and the larger Indian community spread all over Comoros. Please keep the flags of India and Comoros flying high in Comoros, the way you have been doing, for so many decades.
Share your prosperity with your Comorian brothers and sisters and make them partners in progress. You are all well placed to do that very noble task. Make Comoros more prosperous, contribute to India's growth and help create a more prosperous, harmonious, sustainable planet.
Source: Ministry of External affairs Gov of India