Addressing the parliament of Comoros at Moroni, the capital of the island nation after holding bilateral talks with President Azali Assoumani, Naidu said even as political stability and peaceful transition takes place in Comoros, terrorism has, time and again, threatened to derail this process.
“Terrorist groups threaten peace and stability and render state institutions vulnerable. Piracy and maritime threats as well as cross border transnational crimes, including cyber crimes, have only added new dimensions to the problem,” he said.
“As a country which continues to be a victim of cross border terrorism, India is willing and ready to partner with Comoros, and supplement Comoros efforts, to neutralise these threats, particularly in the maritime domain,” he added.
He said that India will be extending a Line of Credit of USD 20 million to Comoros on strengthening bilateral defence and maritime cooperation.
He said as Indian Ocean countries, our maritime security is interlinked.
“Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi has articulated a coherent Indian vision for a collaborative security architecture in the Indian Ocean, which can ensure security and economic growth for all in the littoral countries of this region,” he said.
He said India and Comoros share a common ocean, a common struggle against colonialism and a common endeavour to improve the quality of life of our peoples.
“Our countries have successfully fought colonialism and achieved independence. It is indeed an emotional moment for me to come to Comoros today as India and the world remembers Mahatma Gandhi, the iconic Indian leader who galvanized the people of the country and garnered world wide support for the cause of Indian independence,” he said.
Mahatma Gandhi, whose 150th Birth Anniversary is being celebrated across the globe this year, has left behind a lasting legacy of peace and non-violence for the entire humanity, the vice president said.
“It was Mahatma Gandhi who said on the eve of India’s independence ‘India’s freedom will remain incomplete so long as Africa remains in bondage,” he said.
“In many ways, our own struggle against colonialism helped in reinforcing our shared principles and values and helped to redefine our existence as free nations. For example, our principled stand against apartheid in South Africa came out of our quest for equality, dignity and justice for all people, particularly in the African continent,” he said.
The relationship between India and Africa has been growing stronger with each passing year, Naidu said.
“It is, therefore, not a mere coincidence that our President, Prime Minister and myself have visited 32 African countries in the last five and half years,” Naidu said.
He said that India’s support to Africa as well as its Lines of Credit and Buyers Credit Scheme have been driven by its requirements and your priorities.
“I am happy to note that India has provided for a Line of Credit to Comoros of USD 41.6 million for setting up of 18 MW power plant in Moroni,” he said.
He congratulated Comoros President Assoumani on his decision to sign the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement and help us take bold steps collectively towards a sustainable and cleaner world. We look forward to working with your country to take up solar projects for the benefit of your people.
“Our partnership under the International Solar Alliance can help us lights thousands of home in sustainable manner and provide access to energy to people in the remotest corner,” he said.
“Our economic ties are strong and I am sure they can be stronger. Our trade with Comoros now stands at USD 47.11 million for 2018-19. The potential for trade between India and Comoros is vast. India would like to become a valuable partner in the economic development of Comoros,” he said.
Given the growth of tourism all over the world, India has made it easier for Comorians to travel to India by expanding our Electronic Tourist Visa scheme to them, he said.
“I would like to share with this august House that Festival of India will be celebrated this year and next year in Comoros which will greatly enhance cultural exchanges between our two countries,” Naidu said.
“We share a common ocean and a common future. As the Comorian saying goes … ‘one who makes the extra effort will benefit’. Let both our countries make that extra effort and accelerate development,” Naidu said.
“New waves of nationalism and protectionist trends are making us question the effectiveness of multilateral institutions.
“To legislate in such changing times demands even greater awareness and acumen from Parliamentarians. Parliamentarians have an opportunity, and constitutional responsibility, to play a significant role in supporting and monitoring implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.
India remains committed to work with Comoros to meet the aspirations of your people in accordance with the principles of South-South Cooperation,” he said.
He concluded his address with two quotations, one from Comoros’ national anthem, and another from an ancient Indian text.