The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, reached Suriname yesterday evening (June 19, 2018) on the second leg of his State Visit to three countries – Greece, Suriname and Cuba. This is the first ever visit of an Indian President to Suriname. The President was received at the Johan Adolf Pengel International airport, Paramaribo by Mr Desire Delano Bouterse, the President of the Republic of Suriname, along with other dignitaries and accorded a ceremonial welcome. Subsequently, the President paid his tributes at the Gandhi statue in the city.
Today (June 20, 2018), the President addressed the National Assembly of Suriname. He became the first foreign Head of State to address the National Assembly of Suriname.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said thatSuriname is an obvious partner for India as we seek to build on our already considerable trade, investment and cultural relations with Latin America and the Caribbean region.
The President stated that climate change is an international concern and a foreign policy issue. He commended Suriname for its enlightened approach on climate change. He said that India is proud to have Suriname as a co-partner in the International Solar Alliance. He thanked Suriname for ratifying its entry into the ISA. He stated that this will allow us to collaborate on solar energy projects that will be of benefit to Surinamese people and our planet.
The President said that it is not just in the field of renewable energy that India would want to partner Suriname. India is happy to share its developmental experiences with Suriname, as per Suriname’s needs, desires and priorities.
The President was happy to note that young people in Suriname are making increasing use of facilities available under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme. He stated that we have also signed an agreement on the formal linkage of the Suriname Diplomatic Institute and the Foreign Service Institute of India. This will facilitate the training of Surinamese diplomats in Information and Communication Technology, in e-diplomacy and in diaspora diplomacy.
The President said that tomorrow (June 21), along with President Bouterse and other dignitaries and friends in Suriname, he will be participating in the International Day of Yoga events that begin at 7.00 am. He invited members of National Assembly and other dignitaries to join and share the joy of yoga. He also invited them to visit India– and to share and deepen Suriname-India friendship.
Earlier in the morning, the President held one-to-one discussion with his counterpart as well as led the delegation level talks. The two sides agreed to expand the bilateral agenda especially in the areas of economic relations, cultural cooperation and development partnership.
The President announced that India will extend concessional financing of US Dollars 20 million for setting up a solar project to provide clean energy to a cluster of 49 villages in Suriname. In addition, India will extend a Line of Credit of US Dollars 27.5 million to support a power transmission project in PikinSaronarea and another Line of Credit of US Dollars 3.5 million for maintenance of Chetak helicopters. Further, India will assist Suriname to establish a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology. An MoU to take forward this project was signed. Besides, the two sides also concluded four MoUs in the fields of elections, diplomatic academies partnership, employment for spouse of diplomats of the two countries and archives.
Suriname also invited Indian investment in areas such as Agriculture, Mining, Energy and Timber. During the talks, Suriname accepted India’s invitation to attend the XIth World Hindi Conference to be held in Mauritius in August 2018 as well as the Business Conclave to be held between India and CARICOM in Trinidad and Tobago in the near future.