Following is the text of the speech of Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development at a special convocation of Tripura University:
"It is my privilege to be amongst such a distinguished gathering today. It is with great pleasure that l welcome the Honourable Vice President and the Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh to Tripura University. There is much that unites our two countries "” India and Bangladesh "” a shared history, common heritage, language and cultural ties, a equal passion for music, literature and arts. Bangladesh and India share a common history of struggle for freedom and liberation but there is also enduring fraternal as well as familial ties across the borders. The commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, that great embodiment of multiple virtues and talents, was an occasion for celebrations in both our countries. We can proudly say that we share a commonality in our National anthems too. This commonality is reflected in the multi-dimensional relations that we have at several levels of interaction.
The exchange of people as well as the large number of students from Bangladesh who come to study in India provides the foundation for a lasting friendship. These individual exchanges and interactions have served as an important adjunct to official-level interactions.
The good-will that you have generated, Excellency, especially after you have taken up the premiership is furthering this close relationship. Excellency, as a result of your initiatives and efforts, both sides recognize each other's concerns and sensitivities to strengthen the foundations of a bilateral relationship based on mutual understanding, trust and faith. l believe that both countries are now poised to leverage the complementarities in the realms of trade, investments, sharing of technology and human resource development to forge a stronger partnership than ever before for inclusive development.
The world in the second decade of the New Millennium is witnessing a paradigm shift from the past, hitherto characterised by unequal negotiations between the dominant West and the developing East: their technology and finance leveraging our markets and resources. Things today are no more the same. In the New Economic international Order (NlEO), emerging economies have increased bargaining power. Our economies are on the ascendance in the global economic cycle of prosperity. It is time for India and Bangladesh and seize the opportunities that lie ahead for mutual benefit.
The size of our markets, the pace of development and our human skills and potential coupled with our natural resources and strategic location call for creating synergies and a new viable partnership. We must grab the opportunities that globalisation is offering to ensure inclusive, all-round growth in both our regions to collaborate and realise our dreams. Our challenges too are similar. We must combat poverty and embrace a model of development that is inclusive to provide a better life for the millions of poor and disadvantaged in our countries and region.
The geographical proximity and connectivity between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal provides immense opportunities for us to forge transit arrangements for cross-border trade. India and Bangladesh's joint decision to facilitate transit facilities to our people in the North-East through Bangladesh can allow easier access to these far-flung states.
Let me now turn to human resource development. I have always believed that Education is the only real tool of empowerment. Western nations and East Asia reaped the benefits of the demographic dividend. Now the fruits of this dividend are seeded in India and Bangladesh and other countries in the Asian region. The youth here represent the powerhouse of the global economy of the future.
The young are our future. We have a responsibility to create an appropriate environment to help them plan their lives. We must help them face the challenges of tomorrow to reshape the world. ln a global, interconnected, mutually dependent world, the way forward is through building partnerships. l am pleased to state that the South Asian University, that emerged as a partnership of nations in the SAARC region, has commenced its academic activities last year, and young men and women from six South Asian nations are already living and studying here. The SAU is an ambitious and visionary idea holding great promise of creating a world"‘class university in our region through the joint efforts of all eight Member States. While India is proud to host this University in New Delhi, we are grateful to Bangladesh for its signal contribution to this project since its inception. Indeed, the Concept Paper for the South Asian University was prepared by none other than the distinguished Dr. Gowher Rizvi, and I am certain that the SAU will continue to benefit from Bangladesh's participation and valuable inputs in the future as well.
The challenges of the 21st century are qualitatively different from those in the past. They do not recognise national boundaries. Nations will have to transcend them in thought and action tor sustainable and affordable solutions. Food security, global warming and the environment, demands on energy, water, security in physical and virtual spaces, healthcare are all matters that we need to address together. In this, Bangladesh has shown a path in several frugal innovations that reach out to the poorest "” micro finance being the best example.
Excellency, we are grateful to you for honouring us by accepting the Doctorate of Literature (honoris causa) awarded by Tripura University.
Let me warmly congratulate and offer my best wishes to all the graduating students and medallists. On this notable and solemn occasion, I exhort you to continue to excel in all your future endeavours to fully realize your potential and aspirations, and serve your country and humanity through the attributes you have acquired during your association with this prestigious institution. I would like all of you to see yourself as agents of change for a New India in a world of commons where boundaries will not hold back knowledge but allow us to forge unique partnerships. This is your century. Good luck to you in your ventures and adventures."