67° Independence Day of India in Chile
Categoría: Alemania, Noticias

Speech by the Ambassador of India Pradeep K.Kapur on the occasion of the Independence Day of India

 15 August, 2013

Members of the Indian Community in Chile,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Friends,


         I wish to welcome you and thank you all for joining us on this occasion.


         I started my work here in Chile in early 2009. Soon after joining here, we had the visit of the President of Chile to India, in March 2009. Sra. Michelle Bachelet was the President. She was accompanied by a very high powered delegation. This included Ministers, Senators and Parliamentarians, and one of them was Evelyn Matthei. So, in the next articles, newspapers should mention that this is another thing in common between the two presidential candidates: they both visited India together in March 2009.


         Our culture is as diverse as our people, regions and languages. During our time in Chile we have been able to host and organize several cultural activities and festivals of India: Indian dances, music, seminars and expositions have taken place throughout the last three years in Universities, Municipalities, Cultural Centers and other theatres, contributing in this way to the strengthening of the outstanding bilateral relations that we have with our Chilean brothers and sisters.


         Every year we have celebrated the “International Day of Non-violence”, an event declared by the UN which commemorates the birthday of the great leader and visionary, Shri Mahatma Gandhi, on October 02nd. People from all walks of life participate in this important event. Last year we celebrated the 150th Birth Anniversary of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, renowned poet, artist, musical composer and philosopher, who spent some time in Latin America and is well known throughout this continent.


         We also celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Mother Theresa, who was born on August 24th. As part of our efforts to assist vulnerable communities and share the teachings of Mother Theresa with others, this Mission inaugurated the installation of a Solar Water Heating System in the Home of the Missionaries of Charity in Estacion Central, a feat that was possible due to the financial support and collaboration extended by the Indian Association in Iquique.


         Other Chilean authorities have visited India in the past: for instance, back in 2011, Senator Jorge Pizarro, President of the Senate in Chile, visited India to reactivate the bilateral parliamentary agenda. His successor, Senator Guido Girardi, also visited India in 2012. Chilean Ministers of Agriculture have visited India recently and also in the past, being accompanied by important delegations. H.E. Shri Dinsha Patel, Minister of State for Mining in India, visited Chile in 2012, accompanied by a group of experts working on Geology and natural resources. On the other hand, the Hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar led an Indian Parliamentary Delegation to Chile back in 2012. Similarly, the Minister of State for Communication and Technology, Shri Sachin Pilot, visited Chile and held fruitful discussion with Chilean dignitaries. It is also important to highlight the fact that H.E. Mr Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister of India, visited Chile in early 2013, setting in this way an important milestone in the history of friendship between our countries.


         These have not been the only important exchanges that have taken place between our countries, however: representatives from DIRECON, COAS, student exchanges between the universities of Chile, Universidad de la Frontera, Universidad del Desarrollo, JNU, IGNOU, IIMB and others, have been taking place periodically as well. These events have certainly boosted our relationship with Chile.


         We have a long history of bilateral relations with Chile. Chile was the only Latin American nation present at the Celebration of India´s Independence in 1947 and Chile was also the first Latin American country to establish a bilateral commercial agreement with India in 1956. Today we are witnessing how Chilean and Indian trade barriers are being lowered, and how both States are working in order to bring our nations together. We are building upon many agreements for bilateral cooperation, including, among others, memorandums for cooperation in Science and Technology, Air services, Antarctic, Agriculture, Exploration and Utilization Of Outer Space for peaceful Purposes, and in Geology and Mineral Resources.


         As an emerging world power, India has positioned itself as one of the major G-20 economies and, as a member of the BRIC emerging economies, plays an important part in global decision-making processes. We have witnessed the rise of India and have seen how Indian companies have ventured into Chile. Chile´s high levels of transparency, low levels of corruption, attractive foreign investment laws, Decree Law 600 that promotes foreign investment and Chile´s positioning as a platform for the rest of Latin America have been key reasons why Indian companies have chosen Chile to establish their regional headquarters in Latin America. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Evalueserve, JSW Steel Limited, Polaris and Oracle Financial Services Software Chile Ltda (I-Flex Solutions), Havells Silvania, Tega Industries, Godrej India, SUzlon, Ashok Leyland, WIPRO and others have benefitted from these favorable conditions and have given employment to hundreds of our Chilean friends. We hope that this mutually beneficial relationship never ends. This deepening of relations with the Latin American continent flows from the relationships that we have built with many individual countries of this continent, and especially with Chile. Chile offers an abundance of minerals reserves and great extensions of land for agriculture, elements that are really attractive for a country renowned for a population of 1.2 billion.


         We also stood with our Chilean brothers in their moments of greatest need, when Chile was struck by a devastating earthquake in February 2010. On that occasion, our Mission organized the successful “Yoga por la Paz”, which was conceived in order to bring peace and comfort to the hearts of the people whose families were affected by the cataclysm. All cultural events and activities had been cancelled or postponed by the Chilean authorities. This was the only important cultural activity which was allowed in Chile soon after the devastating earthquake. This event, held in the vicinities of Parque Bustamante in Santiago, was able to bring families and yoga practitioners together. We also collaborated with Fondo Esperanza and the University of Talca, among others, in order to bring relief to the regions that were most affected by the cataclysm.


         Over the last years we have also received commercial delegations from the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH), the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC), the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council Of India (Pharmexcil) and the  National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), some of which are now visiting Chile regularly once a year. The exports of some of these items from India to Chile have increased significantly in the last three years.


         India is also opening its frontiers to foreign investment and we believe that Chile has significant opportunities in this field. Chile´s private pension system is an important source of capital for investment in financial markets, while India offers infrastructure bonds that give the highest dividends in the world. India is looking for partners like Chile to participate in future projects in infrastructure, which are essential for our fast growing economy. India also has an emerging health insurance market which has shown to be very lucrative for new and old players. Chile has a lot of experience in this field and we believe that Chilean health insurance companies can expand their operations to India.


         Our Diplomatic Mission has also been involved in the creation of several high-profile academical events, the most important being the First International Conference on “Connecting World Heritage Sites and Civilizations”, event co-organized by Universidad Mayor of Chile and Prof. Sachchidanand Sahai, renowned Indian scholar and historian. The event, held in both Santiago and Valparaiso on 31 May and 01 June, respectively, was sponsored by several Chilean organizations and UNESCO. Many international experts and scholars participated in this conference that brought several countries together to discuss about a topic that is oftentimes overlooked: our cultural heritage.


         Besides this conference, the Indian Embassy organized exhibitions, Festivals of Indian Films, Conferences on India, Indian Cultural festivals, Art Exhibitions and others. We also participated as organizers of a huge exhibition titled “The Universe of India”, held in the premises of La Moneda Cultural Center (Palacio Cultural de la Moneda) from March – June 2012, which consisted of Indian artifacts and museum pieces.


         Our stay in Chile has been indeed very enjoyable, with a lot of hard work, many exchanges and visits by a large number of delegations on both sides. Chile is a very beautiful country. This is probably the last occasion when I will have the opportunity to celebrate the National Day with our Chilean friends. I expect to go back to India in the next few months.


         As I reflect on my period in Chile, I feel very happy. We have had the good fortune of enjoying the friendship, affection and support of a large number of Chileans from all over the country. This has included academicians, common country folk. Governors, intendentes, mayors, students, parliamentarians, and people from all strates of society.  This has made our stay and work here very dear and very special to us. We have extremely fond memories , which we will always cherish. I have also had the pleasure of interact profoundly with many of the Ambassadors from so many diverse countries. This has indeed been a very enriching experience.


         The Indian community in Chile is not very big. We have about 1500 Indians in Chile, and there is a large number of expatriates and professionals who have come into Chile the last three years. There is a significant and growing presence of Indian goods in Chile including Mahindra, Tata, Maruti, Bajaj, Land Rover, Range Rovers, Sanjong, etc.


         I wish to thank the Indian Associations in Iquique, Santiago and Punta Arenas for their support in the Indian Embassy.

-The India-Chile Chamber of Commerce (CAMINDIA) and its President. The various other business organizations too numerous to mention here, including Santiago Chamber of Commerce, Chilean National Chamber, SOFOFA, etc.

-The colleagues in the Indian Embassy, both the India and the Chilean staff.

-The spouses who have contributed significantly from the Indian Network.

-Sponsors: Mahindra, MINVEST, Santa Fe Mining, JSW, Godrej, Derco, TATA Motors, Bajaj. 

         We now have the pleasure and privilege of sharing these moments with you. We appreciate your support and company on this illustrious occasion.

         Thank you very much.


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