Mumbai, December 04, 2020.

Mr. Vijay Kalantri

Honorary Consul of Uzbekistan in Mumbai and Dean of Honorary Consuls,

Mr. Nayan Patel

Honorary Consul of the United Republic of Tanzania in Mumbai and

Our Host tonight,

Mr. Madhusudan Agarwal,

Honorary Consul of theRepublic of Uganda in Mumbai,

Mr. Prakash Jain,

Honorary Consul of the Republic of Rwanda in Mumbai,

Mr. Gul Kriplani,

Honorary Consul of Iceland in Mumbai,

Mr. Dilip Dandekar,

Honorary Consul of Mongolia in Mumbai,

Invited Guests,

Dear Friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaskkar!

Jambo!

It really gives me immense pleasure to propose to you these welcoming remarks.

Let me begin by thanking our Distinguished Guests for sharing this occasion with us. We know and are quite aware of the challenging and unprecedented circumstances brought by COVID-19, but also we appreciate that you could spare time out of your usual busy Friday to join us. That, you found time to join us is, for us an honour and privilege.

Let me also thank our Host for the excellent arrangements and the food and drinks. It has been confirmed to me that there is a lot of food and drinks. I was, therefore, cautioned about the time I should spend in my remarks. Because it is said that if you speak before people eat, you are accused of keeping them away from their food. And if you speak after they have eaten, you are accused of giving them indigestion. In other words, both ways you lose.

So, I will try to cut my loses by confining myself to a few issues:

Number one, I take this opportunity to express great satisfaction on the Tanzania and India bilateral relations which were established since many years ago.

We have worked together by supporting each other on various bilateral relations which were established in 59 years ago. Throughout, we supported each other on various bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common concern.

By commissioning Mr. Patel as Honorary Consul in Mumbai today, we hope that these collaborations will be further enhanced for mutual benefit.

The fact that Mumbai and Dar es Salaam are two major business and commercial hubs for our two countries, confirms that this office will further enlarge both trade and business mobility of our two major cities, as well as people to people contacts. That is why I wish to share with you our strong excitement for having Mr. Patel as our Honorary Consul in Mumbai.

Friends, let me also share a bit of a background to this event as it has come quite a long way. The search for the right candidate was initiated by my predecessor His Excellency Ambassador John W.H. Kijazi way back in 2010.

By the time I assumed the position of High Commissioner in May 2017, I came to know that approval of Mr. Patel had been granted by the Government of Tanzania and so I had to quickly put up a request for a similar approval within the Indian government machinery. Unfortunately, it had to take another two and a half years to have the necessary Indian government approvals!

Finally, Mr. Patel's appointment to this post was published in the Government Gazette of India on the 02nd March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic set foot in, resulting in the lockdowns and shutdowns we have been subjected to since.

So, friends I have been asked to convey the appreciations of the Government of Tanzania to the Government of India, and also to the State Government of Maharashtra for approving this Honorary Consulate in the name of Nayan Patel.

Allow me to congratulate him immensely for this honour and privilege, and to assure him my unflinching support in his role. I very much look forward to working closely with him with a view to scaling up trade, business, investments, tourism and people to people interactions.

Apart from the agreement for this job, the copy of which I will hand over to you shortly, you will find out that my line of communication will be open throughout in facilitating the execution of your mandate. This includes also, the availability of my team at the Mission in New Delhi at any point of time

Dear Friends,

In closing, I wish to welcome each, and everyone present here tonight to visit Tanzania any time of the year to taste a variety of tourism attractions that exist in abundance. As you may be aware, since July 2019 Air Tanzania operates between Mumbai and Dar es Salaam. The 5-hours flight makes it possible for you to have breakfast in Mumbai, lunch in Dar es Salaam and dinner in Zanzibar or Serengeti National Park. Those who are sitting next to the Air Tanzania Country Manager in Mumbai-Ms. Ragin and Mr. Rajan Laxman will learn more about Air Tanzania operations and be able to make up their mind.

Dear Friends,

At this point of time, it behoves me to request you to charge your glasses and join me in toasting the Honorary Consul of Tanzania, wishing him all the health and energy in discharging this nobble function. Cheers!

I thank you for your kind attention.