Remarks by Amb Sibi George at the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) Meritorious Awards Event
President of Indian Business and Professional Council Shri Gurvinder Lamba, Office Bearers and Members of the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC), Esteemed Guests of today’s event, Children, Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very Good Afternoon to all of you.
I begin by thanking His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Amir and His Highness Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Crown Prince for hosting the large Indian community in Kuwait and for their leadership in strengthening the bilateral relations between our two friendly countries.
I commend the IBPC team for the initiative to felicitate the meritorious students of the Indian schools in Kuwait. Recognition of talent and hard work of the young achievers is important. It carries more relevance when it comes at crucial times like the ones today under the Covid 19 pandemic related challenges faced by young students not only in Kuwait but all over the world. This surely acts as a much needed morale booster and if I may add stress buster. I congratulate the winners today; children and their schools.
Humanity as a whole is facing tremendous stress due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. What we are seeing today is something unique; governments, experts, scientists, businesses, students, us common men and women, young and old, are all grappling with these extraordinary circumstances. It has been over a year now but the situation due to Covid 19 continues to evolve and perplex us. Many parts of the world including here in Kuwait are experiencing what experts have termed as the “second wave” of peak infections.
We have the vaccines but there is a still a long way to go until significant populations around the world are vaccinated. I am proud of the fact that India has been at the forefront in this global fight against covid-19. Since the early days of the pandemic, we, as a nation true to our age old ethos, have committed ourselves to support global recovery efforts and have been one of the first countries to provide medicines and essential supplies to many countries.
At the UN General Assembly in September 2020, our Hon’ble Prime Minister had expressed India’s commitment to make India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity available to “humanity”. Standing true to this promise, tens of million doses of Made in India vaccines – COVISHIELD, and the indigenous vaccine – COVAXIN, have so far been exported by India to more than 75 countries around the world, including to the friendly State of Kuwait. We have rightfully justified our tag as the “Pharmacy of the World”.
Whilst the vaccination programme continues, we must not let our guard down. The pace of infections is on the rise again globally. We must remain vigilant; we may also have to continue to adjust to the new ways of life under this deadly pandemic. I know it is tough but we need to pay the price for the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones. I also know that it is particularly hard on our children.
We all recall those days when we stepped into kindergarten with our little ones; and have kept the photographs of those days prominently in our homes. But today, when was the last time a little child walked into the kindergarten holding the hands of their parents. Even the lives of our tiny tods have become online.
Our school children are facing the multiple challenges on account of a number of factors, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on their school operations; dislocations and separation from friends, teachers, guides; uncertainties related to forthcoming examinations including final CBSE examinations and so on.
Despite all this, I am proud of the fact that our students have shown exemplary courage and resilience in dealing with every challenge that life under covid-19 has thrown at them. We as elders understand their concerns; their anxiety and their nervousness. To allay their fears and genuine concerns, I had recently sent personal letters to all students at Indian schools in Kuwait.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate to all the dear students that they should leave their worries to us. We at the Embassy, along with our School authorities and our concerned authorities in Kuwait and India including CBSE, will do everything that is humanly possible to ensure that the final examinations are conducted in as safe and orderly manner as possible and they will not lose an academic year under any circumstances. I urge the students to focus on their studies at this crucial stage. I am sure that they will all excel with flying colours.
Many of you would be aware that we recently launched “India @ 75” to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the independence of our motherland, these celebrations will continue till August 15, 2023. This year we also celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Kuwait. These are important milestones in history of our nation and history of relationship with Kuwait. Like I have mentioned in my earlier interactions and messages, we will be organizing 750 events as part of India @ 750 and 600 events to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relationship in partnership with all our stakeholders in Kuwait.
Who are these stakeholders? In addition to our governmental relationship, we have so many business establishments, industry and commercial chambers, industry groups, factories, universities, science and technology establishments, academicians, scholars, schools, students, innovation and research organizations, museums, libraries and most importantly our Indian community with its most vibrant people to people contacts with our Kuwaiti friends. They are our partners in celebrating India @ 75 and India & Kuwait at 60.
One of the important elements of these celebrations is to promote the economic engagement between our two countries. In this our business associations like IBPC could play a very important role. IBPC has been one of the most active forums and Embassy looks forward to work closely with IBPC and our business chambers and groups to organise a series of events to celebrate our 60th and 75th anniversaries, and to highlight the emerging New India to the world, to reach out to our Kuwaiti partners and friends. We need to encourage every Kuwaiti to visit India, let India be the first touristic destination for them after the Covid 19 pandemic.
I am very keen to involve our children in these celebrations and activities. On March 12, in his inaugural address at the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said, I quote: “History is witness to the fact that the glory of a nation remains conscious only when it teaches the next generation of the traditions of self-esteem and sacrifice, and inspires them continuously. The future of a nation is bright only when it is associated with the pride of its past experiences and heritage. And India has a profound repository to take pride, a rich history and a conscious cultural heritage. Therefore, this occasion of 75 years of independence will be like an elixir for the present generation -- an elixir that will inspire us to live for the country and to do something for the country every moment.” Unquote. Prime Minister spoke about five pillars; Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75 that will inspire the dreams and duties of a free India to move forward. I have circulated our Prime Minister’s speech to all our Associations and Groups in Kuwait. In our celebrations in Kuwait, we will focus on these five pillars.
Many of our children have always been part of Embassy’s various online competitions, and I must admit, the quality of participation in various online events was quite impressive. I urge you all to continue to participate in Embassy’s events.
Let me conclude by thanking the leadership of Indian Business and Professional Council for organizing this event today. My congratulations to all the winners; and best wishes to all the young participants.