June 8, 1999


Excerpts from the letter of Shri K.R. Narayanan, President of India to H.E. Dr. Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, on his retirement from active politics:


The consolidation of democracy in the Republic of South Africa is a matter of pride for the entire world. India, with its historic bonds with the people of South Africa, has rejoiced in the evolution of South Africa as a multi-racial democracy under Your Excellency's unique leadership. Equally, we have admired the achievements of the new South Africa in the twin areas of reconciliation and reconstruction.

The question of Your Excellency saying 'farewell' cannot arise, as far as India is concerned. You have been and will always be a living presence among us, the 'Bharat Ratna' (Jewel of India), that you are. While you relinquish the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa, your role as a world leader and statesman will continue for many years to come. We in India look forward to welcoming you in India, and to your continuing contribution to the further strengthening of the kinship that has knit the people of India and South Africa together for generations.