Remarks by Hon'ble Ambassador H.E. Shri Sujan R. Chinoy at the 119th Birth Anniversary Celebration of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (23 January 2016)
H.E. Mr. Hideo Onishi, Member of House of Representatives
Members of Team Netaji
Konbanwa and Namaste
I would like to congratulate Team Netaji for organizing the 119th Birth Anniversary celebration of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, one of India’s most prominent leaders of the freedom struggle against British colonial rule. It is truly appropriate that this function is held in Tokyo because Netaji was a champion of closer ties between India and Japan.
2. India and Japan enjoy a unique, warm and friendly relationship. Our relations are cemented by close historical bonds forged on the anvil of a shared civilizational heritage in which Buddhism, which spread from India to East Asia, plays a major role. Just last week on 19 January, India and Japan convened a major symposium in Tokyo on our “Shared Values and Democracy in Asia.”
3. In contemporary history there was heightened contact at the turn of the 19th century between our two countries, starting with the visit of the great religious leader Swami Vivekananda, who was an avid admirer of Japan. Japanese art historian Okakura Tenshin created an awareness of Asian unity and pride in Asian culture, which was shared by Asia’s first Nobel Laureate for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore, who himself visited Japan on 5 occasions. We recall the role played by Justice Radha Binod Pal, Rashbehari Bose, and especially Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in forging deeper relations between India and Japan.
4. The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has himself stated that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s bravery and patriotism endeared him to several Indians across generations.
5. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose devoted his life to the independence movement of India. He had an unwavering commitment and conviction for a free India. He had immense oratorical skills and was very popular with Indians overseas in East and South East Asia.
6. We recall the deep association Netaji had with Japan and his visit to this country. We have here with us the son of Netaji’s Liaison Officer Negishi san, who also lived in Calcutta as a young boy.
7. It is due to the sacrifice of great leaders like Netaji and ordinary men and women who fought for our freedom that India has become a sovereign democratic republic today. India celebrates its 67th Republic Day this 26th January. It was a great honour for all Indians that the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E Shinzo Abe, was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade in 2014. Prime Minister Abe, a great champion of India-Japan ties, further cemented our “Special Strategic & Global Partnership” through his most successful visit to India from 11-13 December 2015.
8. As Prime Minister Modi said during Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to India, one cannot think of a strategic partnership that can exercise a more profound influence on shaping the course of Asia and our interlinked ocean regions than ours. No partner has played such a decisive role in India’s economic transformation as Japan. There exists unmatched public goodwill and political consensus in India for our Special Strategic and Global Partnership. Japanese private investments in India are rising. Our Memorandum on Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation is a shining symbol of mutual confidence and strategic partnership. No less historic is our decision to introduce the High Speed Rail, Shinkansen, known for its speed, reliability and safety, on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad sector.
9. Our relations which began more than 1400 years ago have bloomed through different stages and on this day I would like to recall our connection through our prominent freedom fighter Netaji. With these words, I wish to pay a tribute to Netaji on his 119th birth anniversary. I am also touched at the overwhelming respect that our Japanese friends have shown to India’s freedom fighter. I wish you all a wonderful celebration today.