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.


Text of President’s address at the National Assembly of Suriname



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“India is making rapid strides in the field of renewable energy and we will overshoot the target of 175 GW renewable energy by 2022.” said Shri R.K Singh, Minister of State(IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy here today. He was speaking as the Chief Guest at the inauguration of 1500 kWP capacity solar plant developed by Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) at the Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib.

Lauding this noble initiative by DSGMC, Shri Singh said that this would inspire other institutions to go green and become environment conscious. He said that 20 cities in India are ranked among the most polluted in the world and there is an urgent need to reduce fossil fuel use so that we leave a better world for our children. The Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to bring electricity to every household by 31st December, 2018.

The solar plant was inaugurated by Sant Balbir Singh Ji Seechewal and Baba Sewa Singh Ji. Shri Hardeep Puri,Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs and Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change were among the dignitaries present at the occasion.



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Fellow panelists, Excellencies and distinguished guests,

It is indeed a pleasure to meet you all here at this OPEC forum. I have earlier attended this forum in 2015.  This year is probably more critical to present a major buying country’s point of view than ever before in the recent past.

The energy vision of Prime Minister Modi has 4 pillars - Energy Access, Energy Efficiency, Energy Sustainability and Energy Security.  Energy sustainability has to be seen in tandem with the other three pillars for a stable energy future. India has demonstrated very strong commitment to the Paris Agreement and has taken the lead in promoting the International Solar Alliance. In the oil and gas sector we have migrated to Euro IV norms, we have introduced Euro 6 norms in National capital Delhi and now we are preparing to migrate to Euro 6 by April 2020 in whole of India. Promoting biofuels, energy efficiency and moving to a gas based economy are also our priorities. 

Since this forum has Ministers of producing and consuming countries and captains of industry, it is the right forum to discuss sustainable pricing. Oil and Gas are commodities of trade but also of basic necessity. Whether it is the kitchen of a common man or an aircraft, energy is essential. The world has for too long seen prices on a roller coaster and interventions which are detached from market fundamentals. It is high time to move to responsible pricing, one that balances the interests of both the producer and consumer. We also need to move to transparent and flexible markets for both oil and gas.

We often see global trade practices in the field of oil and gas which are not contributing to Energy Access and Affordability and become a hindrance to sustainability. Price of oil and gas have become subject to vagaries of geo-politics. Political conditions, sometimes internal and sometimes external, result in reduced output of some countries. We expect from OPEC and its members a commitment to step in more than fill the gap to ensure sustainable prices.

 Globally crude prices have gone beyond the threshold which can be sustained by the world, particularly countries like India which is a key driver of world economy. These prices are creating stress throughout global economy, as it is giving pain to us in India. The global economic outlook already has threats from trade wars, geo political events and threat of instability coming back to the Euro Zone. The already fragile world economic growth will be at threat if oil prices persist at these levels. My fear is – this will lead to energy poverty in many parts of the World.

While we are not in favour of prices as low as $30 per barrel we also do not support the prevailing high price which dent our fiscal balance and undermine our development process. They also cause undue hardships, particularly to those at the bottom of the pyramid in developing and least developed countries.

If the world has to grow as a whole, there has to be a mutually supportive relationship between producers and consumers. It is in the interests of producers that other economies keep growing steadily and rapidly so as to ensure growing energy markets for themselves. This is the key to energy sustainability. OPEC as the predominant supplier has the responsibility to maintain supply equilibrium.

I will end by quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Father of our Great Nation who said that earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.

Thank you friends!




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To give confidence to wind industry, Government declares national targets for off-shore wind power

Medium target of 5 GW by 2022 and long term target of 30 GW by 2030 declared Offshore wind power to add a new element to the already existing basket of renewable energy for the country

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy recently invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) for the first 1 GW offshore wind project in India, which has evoked keen response from the industry both global and Indian. Now to give confidence to the wind industry, the Ministry has declared medium and long term target for off-shore wind power capacity additions, which are 5 GW by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. While this may look moderate in comparison to India’s on-shore wind target of 60 GW and its achievement of 34 GW and solar target of 100 GW by 2022, this would still be challenging considering the difficulties in installing large wind power turbines in open seas. It may be mentioned that offshore wind turbines are of much larger dimensions and capacities than onshore turbines.

Offshore wind power would add a new element to the already existing basket of renewable energy for the country.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy had notified National Off-Shore Wind Policy in October 2015 to realize the offshore wind power potential in the country.  Preliminary studies have indicated good wind potential for off-shore wind power both in southern tip of Indian peninsula and west coast.  Two regions where preliminary studies are conducted are off coast of Gujarat and that of Tamil Nadu.  For precise wind quality measurements one LiDAR has been installed near Gujarat coast which is generating data about quality of off-shore wind since November, 2017.  Encouraged by quality of off-shore wind, a private sector player has also installed LiDAR in Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat for offshore wind resource measurements. Plans are afoot to install more of such equipment in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Surveys to understand the oceanographic and sea bed condition within identified zones off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have been planned.  Globally there has been installation of about 17 to 18 GW of off-shore wind power led by countries such as UK, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands & China.  Recent years have witnessed fall in off-shore wind tariff in some of these markets.           




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