Author: H.E Mr. Reuben Gauci, High Commissioner of the Republic of Malta
I am Reuben Gauci, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Malta in New Delhi, India. I arrived in this wonderful country, incredible India, as is, has become popularly known, on 13 September 2020 and presented Credentials to His Excellency President Ram Nath Kovind in New Delhi on 14 October 2020. Despite the unfortunate circumstances in which the world finds itself, due to the Corona Virus pandemic, it was a particular honour for me to have addressed your good selves on Webinar on 29 December 2020. The year 2020, was Malta’s and India’s 55th anniversary since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 10 March 1965 less than a year after Malta obtained it’s Independence on 21 September 1964.
Just for everybody’s information, my country, the Republic of Malta, is a history-rich small archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the smallest countries in Europe and in the world. The islands, situated east of Tunisia and about 100 km (60 mi) south of the island of Sicily (Italy), are a popular tourist destination.
Malta consists of the main island Malta and the smaller islands of Gozo and Comino. The country covers an area of 316 km²; compared, it is about twice the size of Washington DC in the USA, and it would fit into the European country of Luxembourg, which is also a small country, eight times.
Malta has a population of 494,000 people (in 2019). The country is in the Top10 of the most densely populated countries in the world. The capital city is Valletta on the island of Malta. The official languages are Maltese and English.
I note with satisfaction that the deepening of cooperation between our two nations in a number of different avenues over the past few years. We must strive to maintain this positive momentum, as the Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted, now more than ever, the need for continued cooperation amongst nations. In spite of the difference in size, both our countries are undergoing robust transformations, with an ambitious vision for the future. Both our countries are vibrant democracies, putting the benefit and well-being of our peoples in the centre of all our policies. India and Malta are also united by our common membership to the Commonwealth of Nations.
A true democracy cannot function without good leadership and especially, may I add, without good leadership of the young. In Malta, we have decreased the age of voting from 18 years old to 16 years old. We believe in the young as being not only part of our future but also part of our present! It is my pleasure to say that Malta is the second country in the European Union ( as you know Malta is a member of the European Union ), to lower the age of voting from 18 years to 16 years in all elections, not simply local, but general elections too. The benefits of lowering the voting age to all citizens of a country to that of 16 years are undeniable. It has a positive impact in increasing young people’s interest in politics, and also it instils the habit of voting at a younger age and increases the habit of citizens to continue voting throughout their lives.
The vision of a shared future has to come from the young.
YOU the Young people of the world,
YOU the Young people of India, along with young people of everywhere, including my country, Malta, are in pole position to change and enrich the expectations of the globe for the coming years.