speech by Honorary Consul General of India to The Gambia, Mr. Ram Mohan
Good Evening!!! Salam Aleikum
Your Excellency President Adama Barrow,
All dignitaries present
The people of Kiang West LRR and
The Gambia and all other protocols duly observed
My name is Ram Mohan, i am the Honorary Consul General of India in The Gambia and am here to represent my High Commissioner designate, Ambassador in Dakar, H E G V Srinivas, and will read his message on his behalf.
It's a pleasure for me to be part of this ceremony, launching one of the iconic bilateral projects between India and the Gambia. I would have been honoured to have been here personally but unfortunately am unable to.
India has been a steadfast partner of the Gambia in Development. It is by no means a coincidence that the pillars of development are water, light, education and health, and India has been a partner with Gambia in all of them. With our contribution to NAWEC in the water project and this electrification project, India is addressing needs of grassroots development and is proud to work alongside the Government of The Gambia.
The present project has been completed in time, and we are proud of KEI and Voyants team for doing so, despite the challenges posed by the Covid 19 pandemic, underlining very clearly the solidarity of India with the Gambia in the fight against the pandemic, as we fight not only for lives but also livelihoods.
Just as president Adama Barrow in the Gambia, Prime Minister Modi in India has been leading from the front during the tumultuous and pandemic times. The year 2020 has been a defining experience for all of us. In India 2020 has reinforced our determination to build a stronger national economy, with robust industrial capacities and deft use of technology. Technology is a cross-cutting instrument, whether in factories or farms, in software or social transformation; we have seen this over the past few years in India. The Covid-19 pandemic has been the most globally disruptive event since World War II. Its devastating impact on society and on the economy is still being tabulated. Recovery, resilience and rebuilding will require both perseverance and planning.
Our pharmaceutical companies ramped up production of drugs. We shipped these to 150 countries even in lockdown conditions, including to our friends in The Gambia. We are on the cusp of the availability of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. As the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines, India is at the forefront of this effort. To ensure that the fruits of human endeavour to defeat Covid-19 reach all, India has made a submission to the TRIPS Council on "Temporary Waiver from Certain Provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the Prevention, Containment and Treatment of COVID-19", to ensure that the intellectual property rights do not become a barrier in the timely and affordable access to medical products, including vaccines and therapeutics.
1964 has evolved and now also has eITEC program. Degrees from prominent Indian academic institutions are being brought to the door step of students from the Gambia, on gratis basis, via iLearn tele-education program. I am also happy to share that during the current academic year 32 students have been awarded scholarship under the iLearn Program and 34 students were awarded ICCR Africa Scholarship for higher studies in premier universities in India; marking highest number of scholarships ever awarded to the Gambia in any academic year.
People to People relations between our two countries are very strong.
This project of the electricity expansion in the Greater Banjul area being launched today upgrades, strengthens and expands electricity supply to make it more reliable and provide quality power to the consumers, AND ELECRICITY IS VITAL FOR ALL DEVELOPMENT IN TODAYS TECHNOLOGICAL WORLD. The project is a virtual festival of Lights, a Diwali in India-Gambia relations. It will bring light and smiles to the faces of thousands of the people and increase their productivity, efficiency and standards of living, heralding overall prosperity and more importantly access to the new ways of learning to Kiang West.
Long live The Gambia & India partnership and friendship.