President U Win Myint and First Lady Daw Cho Cho hosted a State Banquet in honour of President of the Republic of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady Smt. Kovind at the Presidential Palace in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
It was also attended by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Vice President U Myint Swe and wife Daw Khin Thet Htay, Vice President U Henry Van Thio and wife Dr. Shwe Hlwan, Union Ministers, Deputy Ministers and officials.
At the dinner, President U Win Myint and President Shri Ram Nath Kovind exchanged greetings.
Speaking at the dinner, President U Win Myint said reviewing our bilateral ties, I am truly encouraged by the growing relations between our two countries in various sectors. Our struggles for independence, historical and cultural affinity have brought our two friendly countries closer.
He continued to say that the two countries have witnessed the signing of Memoranda of Understanding which will further enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries, adding that the historic visit of the President of India has elevated the existing Myanmar-India friendly relations to a higher level.
“I am confident that sowing seeds of cooperation in various sectors will bear fruits of mutual prosperity, development and better connectivity, thereby further consolidating the existing bilateral friendly relations between our two countries,” said President U Win Myint.
“It is pertinent to mention that, at present, Myanmar-India bilateral relationship is at its apex, due to the consistent joint efforts of the successive leaders and founding fathers of both countries throughout our history,” he added.
“It was a great pleasure to have had the opportunity to discuss with Your Excellency during our meeting earlier today in a cordial and candid atmosphere,” added President U Win Myint.
“We have exchanged views to further enhance our bilateral cooperation, especially in the fields of trade, investment, tourism, human resource development, transport and culture to the benefit of our two peoples,” said the President.
“We highly appreciate that India attaches priority to its relations with Myanmar in its foreign relations based on the ‘Act East Policy’ and the ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’,” said President U Win Myint.
“Myanmar’s strategic proximity to India and its geographical location serving as a land-bridge between India and ASEAN will complement with India’s ‘Act East Policy’”, he added.
President U Win Myint continued to say that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are one of the cornerstones of Myanmar’s foreign policy. As both countries share a common aspiration for peace, stability and prosperity of the region and beyond, Myanmar would continue to work together with India for prosperity, peace and stability in the region.
He also mentioned that Myanmar holds in high esteem the late Mahatma Gandhi, India’s founding father especially for his non-violent struggle for independence and peace.
“Myanmar, therefore, appreciates the initiatives taken by the Government of India for organizing the worldwide celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,” he said.
“Sharing a common aspiration for peace, I would like to assure Your Excellency that Myanmar stands ready to continue to work together with India and to support each other at the regional and international fora in the interests of our two peoples,” he added.
I also wish to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to India for its support extended to Myanmar at the regional and international arena.
We have witnessed, with much delight, that our bilateral relations is thriving with great momentum and it is worthwhile here to quote a saying “A friend in need is a friend indeed”. It rings true to our bilateral ties.
I sincerely believe that we both will keep this momentum and further strengthen our friendly ties for the betterment of our peoples.
May I now invite you to join me in a toast: to the good health, happiness and further success in the future endeavours of His Excellency President Ram Nath Kovind and the First Lady; to the continued progress and prosperity of India and her people; to the long-lasting friendship between the peoples of Myanmar and India; and to the personal well-being of all distinguished guests present here tonight.
Afterwards, the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind said the two countries were bound together by shared waters, forests and hills, by culture, cuisine, language and history.
“Our people have much to cherish and celebrate, of our special ties and our friendship. The vibrant Indian-origin community, who have made Myanmar their home, are an organic link between us. Our anti-colonial struggles and our shared aspirations bring us together as well,” said President Shri Ram Nath Kovind. We gave home to each other when force and fate defeated us. King Thibaw spent his days in Ratnagiri and Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in Yangon. We have, indeed, been friends in prosperity and as much in adversity.
“The propagation of vipassana in the modern era, a meditation technique developed and practiced by Lord Buddha himself, owes so much to the pioneering work of Satya Narayan Goenka, who received his initial lessons from Sayagyi U Ba Khin. And of course, we fondly remember Daw Tint Tint, or Usha Narayanan, the daughter of Myanmar, who became the First Lady of India,” said Shri Ram Nath Kovind.
He continued to say that discussions yesterday convinced him that the ties between the two countries could only get closer and more intense from there, saying that both sides were working tirelessly to enhance the intensity of bilateral engagement through increased connectivity, capacity-building and growing commercial and cultural exchanges.
“In India, we are aware of the challenges Myanmar faces in taking forward the peace process, national reconciliation and economic recovery. I want to say to you that the Government and people of India stand by you,” said the President of India.
“We are in full support of your peace process and in preserving the unity and territorial integrity of Myanmar—all of which are fundamentally in our own interests as well. For without that, India cannot succeed in its effort to bring development, prosperity and connectivity to our citizens in the Northeast, which borders Myanmar,” said the Indian President.
“Therefore, Excellencies, because our destinies are inter-twined and inter-linked, our friendship is driven not by short term goals, but by a larger and lasting quest for mutual peace, progress and prosperity.
And our partnership with Myanmar is at that important intersection between friendship, neighbourhood and shared core interests,” said the President of India.
Afterwards, they enjoyed the dinner together with the invited guests.
During the dinner, artistes of the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture entertained the guests with dances.
After the performance, President U Win Myint and First lady, and the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind and First Lady, presented bouquets to the artistes and posed for documentary photos.
Afterwards, President U Win Myint presented a photo album of the visit to the President of India.