Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the Indian Community Reception in Lilongwe, Malawi on November 04, 2018

Lilongwe, Malawi | November 4, 2018

"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 Hon’ble Minister Sri Kishan Pal Gurjar, Members of Lower House (Lok Sabha) Sri K Suresh and Members of Parliament Upper House (Rajya Sabha) Sri Members of Lower House (Lok Sabha) V Muraleedharan.

I am extremely delighted to visit this beautiful city of Lilongwe, in the Warm Heart of Africa. I am thankful to the Government of Malawi for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation. I am also looking forward to a fruitful interaction with President Prof. Arther Peter Mutharika tomorrow.

Sisters and Brothers,

I am aware that the Malawians of Indian origin or the Pravasi Bhartiyas have been in Malawi for the last 150 years. I am glad to know that Malawi has accepted all of you with great warmth and affection, due to which you all have settled down well in this country. The Malawian brothers and sisters have accepted all of you as a part of their larger Malawian family since your arrival.

I am happy to note that despite being less than 1% of the total population, you have made significant contribution to find a place of leadership, in the economic activities of the country. Some of you have attained positions of excellence, in your respective professions. I am extremely happy to note that you are providing leadership in various sectors

I am particularly impressed to learn that Malawi had an Indian Association set up way back in 1914, popularly called as Indian Sports Club in the City of Blantyre. Then came the Indian Country Club in 1940s in Lilongwe. Both these clubs continue to function to this day.

I convey my sincere appreciation to the determination of your leadership, in keeping these Associations alive for more than 100+ years in this distant country.

I also have come to know that the Indian cultural heritage has been kept alive through the Hindu Sewa Samaj both in Blantyre and Lilongwe which also is over five decades old. Various Indian festivals are celebrated with full religious fervour and with the participation of the entire community.

By these initiatives of yours, the younger generations of Malawi Indians are able to keep in touch with our Indian cultural, customs and practices in this distant land. Your strong and wider involvement in the economic activities of Malawi is also noteworthy. 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,

India, one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, with a current growth rate of 8.2%, is on course to become a 5 trillion economy by 2025. The India story, as it is unfolding today, is a promising one.

India is moving fast forward to transform itself into a modern 21st century inclusive economy. Towards this end, our Government has taken a number of measures.

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.

Nearly 10 thousand kilometres of national highways were built during the last one year. That is an average of 27 kilometres per day. 111 rivers have been identified as National Waterways and we are modernizing our railways. New metros in the urban centres and dedicated freight corridors are being built. We have set a target to produce 175 Gigawatt of clean, renewable energy by 2022.

To boost the manufacturing sector, India has embarked on the “Make in India programme”. A host of path breaking reforms have been initiated, including the transformational tax reform.

The introduction of Goods and Service Tax is a major step to have seamless and efficient national market. This will make it easier for businesses to establish and grow in India.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would urge you to look at the transformation that India is undergoing. The results from the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2019’ report published a couple of days ago which said, “India, which is a top improver for a second consecutive year, implemented six reforms in the past year and advanced to 77th place in the global ranking. India is now the region’s top-ranked economy…. Starting a business was made easier through consolidation of multiple application forms and introduction of a Goods and Services Tax (GST).”

India is changing rapidly. The business environment is changing for the better. The archaic regulations are being dismantled. Seamless processes are being introduced.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You are already aware of the various steps that Government of India is taking towards enhancing our relationship with Malawi. Tomorrow, when I meet Hon’ble President of Malawi, we will be signing some important and landmark announcements. One of them will be for setting up of Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Centre in Blantyre. It is a US$ 10 mn grant from the Government of India. Another important development is the setting up of a Business Incubation Centre that has come up at the Mponela Technical College in Dowa District. The incubation centre will give the much needed fillip to upgrading the skills of Malawi youth in several sectors.

Malawi is rich in natural resources and India is more than happy to assist in value addition of their rich resources, so that the Malawian economy becomes self-reliant and Malawi is able to finance all their domestic requirements in the years ahead.

Before, I conclude, I would like to share with all of you, about the forthcoming Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas of 2019, which is very significant. In reverence to the sentiments of the large Diaspora community to participate in Kumbh Snan and to witness the Republic Day Parade, the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas will be held from January 21-23, 2019 in Varanasi, U.P. You all are cordially invited to attend the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas.

In concluding, I would like to thank each one of you, who have come here and the larger Indian community spread all over Malawi. Please keep building bridges of understanding and empathy as you have been doing, for so many decades.

Share your prosperity with your Malawi brothers and sisters and make them partners in progress. You are all well placed to do make a diffrence. I am sure you will all rise up to the occasion and assist all those who are involved in moving Malawi from a LDC country to a middle income country by the next decade.

I wish each one of you all success in your professional and personnel endevours. I hope you will continue to cherish your Indian roots and the rich cultural tradition you have inherited and nourish the socio-economic and cultural life of Malawi.

You are India’s cultural ambassadors and the world sees you as the representatives of Indian values and way of life.

I am happy that many of you have done India proud.

Please continue the mission of carrying India’s message to the world in your interactions with other country men and women. Also bring back the best from other countries to India so that our country can advance much more rapidly.

Thank you.

Jai Hind!"