“Your Excellency, Minister of External Affairs of India,
President Mr. Papandreou,
It is a special honour and pleasure for me to participate today in this special ceremony for the unveiling of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, in the center of the historic city of Athens.
The ceremony coincides with the visit to Greece of the Minister of External Affairs of India and friend, dare I say, of Greece, Dr. Jaishankar, visit that takes place after 18 whole years.
Yesterday and today, we had a series of particularly constructive meetings that encompassed the full range of our bilateral relations.
I am certain that Mahatma Gandhi will not feel uncomfortable in this place, in the center of the city of Athens. He will not feel any ‘loneliness’.
His statue is located very close to the Embassy of his homeland, India, to which he dedicated his life. But it will also be next to the thousands of Greeks passing through this point every day.
This “Great Soul”, as the Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis previously said – this is the meaning of the epithet ‘Mahatma’ in Sanskrit – is not just the founding father of the Indian Nation. He is one of the world leaders of the 20th century and beyond, one of the most prominent figures in the history of mankind.
Future generations have a lot to learn from his legacy, his course of life.
One could talk for hours about his memory and what he contributed to human society.
But I think that words would not suffice. I would simply like to state our view that both Greece and India honour his memory in the most appropriate way: working constantly to promote world peace, stability, understanding between people and non-violence in relations between states.
Thank you very much”