India and Argentina should come "together, firmly and decisively" to destroy and defeat terrorism, President Ram Nath Kovind said Monday as he welcomed his Argentine counterpart Mauricio Macri at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Macri was welcomed in a traditional ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the morning.
Later, in his banquet speech, Kovind underlined the rich traditional friendship between the two countries which goes beyond the Tabla and the Tango. He also referred to interactions between Rabindranath Tagore and Argentine writer Victoria Ocampo during the Bengali poet's visit in 1924, the respect commanded by Mahatma Gandhi in Argentina and San Martin in India, skills of football superstars Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi which captivate soccer lovers of India and sporting rivalry on the hockey turf.
During his speech, Kovind said, "Terrorism poses the gravest threat to humanity today. As long-standing friends and as trusted partners, we must come together, firmly and decisively, to destroy and defeat terrorism, to protect our present and to secure our future." Kovind recalled former Argentine president Arturo Frondizi, who was the first head of state from Latin America to have visited India in 1961, had said while in prison he read the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi for inspiration, for hope and for sustenance.
"We are equally delighted to learn of your personal admiration of Mahatma Gandhi. It strengthens our collective belief in his universal legacy, and those of San Martin, whom we have given a permanent place in our hearts," he said. Kovind thanked Macri for visiting India when celebrations of the 70th year of diplomatic relations between the two countries are going on.
He highlighted the mutual admiration of intellectual traditions of both countries spanning from Borges and Carlos Gardel, to Bhagwat Gita and Yoga. "We are beholden by the skills of Maradona and Messi, and you by the magic of Bollywood. President, the embrace of the Tango and the Tabla could not be warmer!" he said.
Trade and technology, agriculture and Antarctic science, cyberspace and satellites are propelling relations between the two countries, he said. The Indian president said both countries are to south-south solidarity and working together to create more space for our people in global governance.
India looks forward to contributing meaningfully to the "Review of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action" next month. Kovind said. "I commend your leadership of the G-20. We also remain grateful to you for supporting our accession to the various technology regimes and for standing by us for our membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group," he said.
Kovind also expressed happiness on working as a team to strengthen the International Solar Alliance.
(With inputs from agencies.)