The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, reached Bulgaria yesterday (September 4, 2018) on the second leg of his state visit to three European nations – Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.Today (September 5, 2018), the President delivered an address at Sofia University on the theme “Education as an Instrument of Change and Shared Prosperity”. The address coincided with Teachers’ Day in India, commemorating the birth anniversary of Dr S. Radhakrishnan, India’s second President.Speaking on the occasion, the President paid tributes to India’s teachers, scholars and academics. He said they have drawn from India’s age-old traditions of learning and wisdom - and they have contributed to India’s reputation as a knowledge power. Across continents, Indian scholarship and academic excellence is recognised. It adds to the global economy and knowledge structures – and it earns India goodwill.The President said the 21st century is an era of dramatic technological change. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Artificial Intelligence, and the maturing of robotics and of 3D and precision manufacture are changing how we live and work. Digital technologies are allowing us to make jumps that were hitherto not possible.
The President said that the technology and digital revolution is being led by young people from campuses. The university campuses of the 21st century are not just providers of degrees but also hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship and incubators of start-ups and small businesses driven by technology – and by creative minds buzzing with ideas and designing game-changing apps.The President said that this is a revolution playing out in real time in India. It has made India the world’s third-largest innovation and start-up hub. The start-up universe in India is creating not just jobs and wealth – but also intellectual property. India’s R&D investments are expected to touch US dollars 83 billion this year. This is an exciting ecosystem. He invited young Bulgarians to become a part of it. Bulgarians, he said, are among students from 166 countries studying in Indian universities and institutions of higher learning.Earlier this morning (September 5, 2018), the President visited the Saint Alexander Nevski Square where he was received by President Rumen Radev of Bulgaria and accorded a ceremonial welcome. He also paid respects at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.During the subsequent one-to-one discussions with President Radev, the President thanked him for his warmth and hospitality. The President said his visit is aimed at further strengthening India-Bulgaria political relations and building an economic partnership. Subsequently, the President led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, he said the all-round progress achieved by Bulgaria deserves recognition and admiration. India is also on a strong growth path. There is potential for us to enhance economic cooperation. We could collaborate in the fields of IT, defence, pharma, food processing, entertainment and tourism, among others.
Following the delegation-level talks, bilateral agreements were signed and exchanged. India and Bulgaria have signed five agreements during President Kovind’s visit:
An agreement between Invest India and Invest Bulgaria
An agreement on cooperation in and facilitation of tourism
An agreement on enhanced science and technology cooperation
An agreement on civil nuclear research and cooperation
An agreement between the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Sofia University to promote Hindi studies
The President also issued a media statement on his visit to Bulgaria (attached).
Yesterday evening (September 4, 2018), the President addressed an impressive gathering of the Indian community and the Friends of India organisation at a reception hosted by Ms Pooja Kapur, Ambassador of India to the Republic of Bulgaria.
Addressing the gathering, the President said the Indian diaspora in Bulgaria constitutes a living bridge between the two countries. Their numbers may be small but they have made appreciable contributions to fostering bilateral ties. The President appreciated Friends of India for creating a network of cultural and academic institutions, yoga schools and ayurveda centres in Bulgaria. He noted that the Indology Department of Sofia University has been doing stellar work for the past 35 years. Its scholars have translated eight of the principal Upanishads from Sanskrit into Bulgarian.