Dakar [Senegal]: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu addressed students of Universite Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Senegal and said that working together requires us to develop a mindset that accepts and adopts, recognizes plurality and diversity and forges partnerships with mutual trust and respect.
“Peace, respect, receptivity, and democratic ethos encapsulated in the Senegalese term ‘Teranga’ are the foundational values that have brought Senegal and India together and continue to provide the inspiration to work together and move together towards peace and prosperity for our people,” he said in his address.
Naidu said the Senegalese had demonstrated a positive approach because of the “Teranga” ingrained in their collective consciousness.
“You have an innate ability to welcome new people and fresh ideas. You have accorded great importance to values like hospitality, respect, community and solidarity,” he said.
Senegal and India have been connected since antiquity through the material medium of textiles.
“We both are pluralistic societies – multiethnic, multireligious with several spoken languages. We have gained freedom from a colonial past and established democratic governance in our countries. We are striving relentlessly to provide a conducive environment for people to grow and prosper,” he also said.
It is an eloquent testimony of Senegal’s great respect for all that Mahatma Gandhi stood for – peace, truth, non-violence and dialogue for conflict resolution. This struggle against injustice, violence and violation of fundamental freedom is what unites our countries.
“We have fought similar battles in the past and have emerged successful and gained freedom. Now, we are co-travellers on a fascinating development journey and have been natural partners who are drawing upon each of our country’s strengths to face many global challenges with courage, competence and conviction,” he added.
“I do hope that the neem tree brought from India to Senegal in the 1960s which you have named as the Independence Tree of Senegal will flourish along with the Baobab tree giving shade, nourishment and good health to all. Let the Tiranga, the tri-colour flag of India symbolizing India’s vision of peace, prosperity, righteousness and hardwork as well as the tri-coloured flag of Senegal symbolizing the values of optimism, hope, hard work, prosperity and passionate commitment to development as well as the spirit of Teranga fly high,” Naidu said.
Students and teachers present at the Vice President’s address expressed their happiness in attending the event.
Touba Ndiaye, a student in the English department at UCAD, said: “We are lucky to have Indian delegation here and it’s a proud moment for the whole University. India is the country that I love a lot and definitely I will try to visit it soon.”
Salome Eyaete, a teacher representing British Senegal Institute in the University programme, said: “It’s an incredible event. I also told my students that this is going to be a very educative programme. It was an opportunity to know the thoughts of the Vice President about Senegal. India is making presently a great impact in Senegal. Of course, I want to visit India, especially Mumbai.”
Naidu is in Senegal from June 1 to June 3. (ANI)