WELCOMING REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY HIGH COMMISSIONER BARAKA HARAN LUVANDA AT DINNER, SEPTEMBER 19, 2017

H.E. Ambassador Alem Tsehaye Woldermariam,
Dean of the African Heads of Missions (AHOMs) in India,
(Dean-Designate of the Diplomatic Corps)

H.E. Ambassador Frank Hans Dannenberg Castellanos,
Outgoing Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in India,

Dr. Neena Malhotra,
Joint Secretary, MEA- (East and Southern Africa),

Mr. Manoj Dwivedi, IAS
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry,

Invited Guests,
Colleagues at Tanzania High Commission,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Good evening!
Namaskar!

Let me at the outset admit that in the planning for this dinner I was faced with a few questions: One, will I have to make a speech or not? Two, if the answer to the first question was in the affirmative, then another question has been what useful substance would I have had for this?

In fact, it was difficult for one reason – the purpose of the dinner itself was/ or rather is said to be, quote: “Celebrating the occasion of presentation of the Letter of Credence of the High Commissioner- ( id est, myself),” end of quote.

So, ideally my standing here at this podium would have been for the sole purpose of ushering you to the dinner, and perhaps may be, wishing you good appetite, period!

Again, as you may be pretty much aware, speaking at a dinner is somehow tricky always an unpleasant proposition. If you speak before people eat, you are accused of keeping them away from their food; if you speak after they have eaten, you are accused of giving them indigestion. Both ways, you lose!

So, I will try to cut my losses by confining myself to a few impressions in not more than nine hundred words only:

First, I wish to sincerely thank each one of you for joining us at this dinner. We are greatly humbled by your presence. We know for a fact that you food in your houses, and you have drinks in your houses. That you have had to come here is great honour and privilege to us. I thank you so much.

We appreciate that our coming together this evening contributes not only to promoting cooperation amongst ourselves, but it also builds up on the much needed interaction with our Host - the Government of India.

I am particularly glad to see the two Joint Secretaries in our midst- Dr Neena Malhotra (JS, MEA-East and Southern Africa) and Mr. Manoj Dwivedi, Joint Secretary-Commerce & Industry- with whom I have already established useful contacts since my arrival.

Secondly, I wish to sincerely thank (you) my colleagues in the African Group of Ambassadors for the very warm reception during my arrival in New Delhi, and especially for quickly integrating me into the Group.

In fact, not one of the colleagues I approached in the Group refused to offer me the gift of his/her knowledge and the benefit of his/her experience. Many of you have become valued friends, and I must say my life here would not be what it now is without you. I thank you so much.

Again, to my Host, thank you, once again, for having allowed me to start functioning even before I had presented my credentials. This allowed me to successfully host the Former President, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete when he visited India from 27-31 August, 2017, as well as the Trade Minister and his delegation during the same week. Thank you so much.

Excellencies, Invited Guests,

At this stage, let me share with you my unique short experience in this Great Country. When I arrived in Mid-May this year (15th of May, to be precise) I had with me the original Letter of Credence, bearing the name of the now former President of India – Honourable Pranab Mukherjee and I was so much hopeful that I would present the same before him.

Sadly, that would not happen, despite the whole anxiety that characterized my stay from Mid-May to end of July when it became clear that I had to obtain the new papers with the name of the new President.

And guess what! While the new papers had not been secured (you all know the busy domestic agenda of any President), I was asked to secure them on or about 18th August, 2017 so as to be ready for the first opportunity to present on the 23rd August, 2017. I missed that opportunity by just one day only!

I thank God that my day was still being planned carefully, and that day was only to be today.

Today, I was greatly honoured, and especially privileged that, as the 14th High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to India; I have had the honour and privilege of presenting my credentials to the 14th President of this Great Nation with lots of opportunities. What a coincidence!

It has been a great joy not only for me personally, but also, to my compatriots and staff at the High Commission.

We look forward to steering up the strong bilateral working relationships that have been established by my predecessors to even greater heights.

Excellencies, Dear Friends,

Just for your information, the diplomatic relations between Tanzania and India were established in 1961 with the India High Commission setting up its office in Dar es Salaam on 19th November 1961 and the Consulate General of India in Zanzibar becoming operational on 23rd October 1974.

Tanzania (then Tanganyika) established its diplomatic mission in India in 1962. Throughout, our relations have been cordial and friendly, characterized mostly by active bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding

For many years then, the relationship was largely driven by the shared ideological commitments to anti-colonialism, anti-racism, south-south cooperation and the non alignment policies. These ideals have continued to be relevant and effective foundation in resolving global issues of common concern, and in fostering better relations among nations.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that the first recipient of the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Prize which was instituted by the Government of India on the occasion of the 125th Anniversary of this Great Statesman in 1995 was conferred to the late Dr. Julius Nyerere in recognition of his non-violent struggle for Tanzania’s independence

As I conclude, it is gratifying to note that our relationships with India today have emulated the strong foundations of our fore founders. However, for the obvious reason, there has been a pragmatic policy shift now, with an increased emphasis being placed on greater and diversified socio-economic, technical and cultural exchanges for which, I need not abuse (any further) your precious time in attempting to elaborate them.

It suffices, once again, to thank you so much for joining us this evening, and I very much look forward to working with you in the coming days.

I Thank You.

Bon Appetite & God Bless You!

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