The distinguished speakers who participated in the commemorative evening included Mr Oscar Fernandes, senior Congress leader, former Union Minister and Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Mr J. P. Agarwal, former President, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, Major Dalbir Singh, National Secretary, AICC and Co-President of International Organisation ”Assembly of the Peoples of Eurasia”, Mr Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation in India, Mr K. L. Malhotra, General Secretary Indian Council for UN Relations, and others. An elite gathering attended the event.
Describing Rajiv Gandhi as a great visionary, who pinned enormous hope on solid and reliable Indo-Russian relations for peace and prosperity, Mr Oscar Fernandes noted that he made it a point to choose Russia for his first foreign visit. He made an optimistic note on Rajiv Gandhi as the one who hoped that India would one day lead the world, will be remembered for ever. Adding that Panditji, Indiraji and Rajivji together made a strong India, Mr. Agarwal stressed that Rajivji had particularly accelerated economic growth in the country.
Mr J. P. Agarwal made his address after duly paying humble homage to the late Ambassador Alexander Kadakin who distinguished himself for his significant contributions to Indo-Relations relations. He projected Rajiv Gandhi as the youngest Indian Prime Minister who did a lot not only for the economic and technological development of India but also enhancing the country’s image across the world before disappearing all on a sudden. The topic of Indo-Russian relations in terms of foreign policy perception was very close to his heart, Mr Agarwal said. Quoting A.B. Vajpayee, he said that Rajiv Gandhi had a quick grasp on international issues and decisions on priorities.
Major Dalbir Singh hailed Rajiv Gandhi as a dynamic, pragmatic and remarkable leader with scientific temper, who materialised a sort of technological revolution in the country through information technology, communication, computer application and nation-wide connectivity. Attaching generosity, magnanimity, commitment to peace, harmony and secularism as the unique qualities of former Prime Minister, Major Dalbir Singh registered his deep appreciation on Rajiv Gandhi’s perspective on the historic document Delhi Declaration on Nuclear-Free, Non-Violent World signed with Gorbachev on November 27, 1986.
Sharing his personal experience as a journalist, Mr Sergey Karmalito recalled several meetings he had with Rajiv Gandhi, whom he described as a great Indian statesmen and a true representative of the new generation of Indian people of the 20th century. Had he not met with a tragic death and been alive today, he would have pushed India far ahead and the country would have been in a different position, he added. Mr Karmalito recounted as to how Rajiv Gandhi visualised progressive projects on industry, science and technology and energy, and also laid special emphasis on Kudankulam nuclear project.
Earlier, Mr. Alexey Baev, Deputy Director, welcoming the gathering, said that Rajiv Gandhi was a highly respected good friend of Russia and the people, and during his premiership Russian-Indian relations had flourished.
Ms Purnima Anand, President, International Federation of Indo-Russian Youth Clubs and BRICS International Forum, Dr. R. B. Singh, General Secretary, India-Russia Friendship Society, New Delhi, and Mr K.L. Malhotra, General Secretary, Indian Council for Human Relations, spoke on the occasion.
Commemorative Awards, instituted by India-Russia Friendship Society, in appreciation to the promotion of Indo-Russian relations, were given to several people, including Ms Elena Barman, President, Indian Association of Russian Compatriots, Mr Arseny Starkov, Chief Consultant, Information and Culture, RCSC, and Mr. S. V. Nair, Media Advisor, RCSC.