High Commission of India, Georgetown, Guyana
India's External Affairs Minister visit to Guyana India's External Affairs Minister visit to Guyana

India's External Affairs Minister visit to Guyana

High Commission of India




Visit of Hon’ble External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar to Guyana 21-23 April 2023

1. Hon’ble External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar who is on a four day official visit to Guyana began his engagements with an extensive meeting with CARICOM for the 4th CARICOM-India Ministerial Meeting at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters on 21 April 2023.

2. Dr S Jaishankar met Secretary General Dr. Carla Natalie Barnett and her team, and exchanged views for intensifying India-CARICOM ties in traditional as well as new areas of cooperation. He also congratulated her on the 50 years of CARICOM.

3. External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar then Co-chaired the 4th India-CARICOM Ministerial Meeting with Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Smith at the CARICOM HQ in Georgetown. The Meeting of Foreign Ministers has been seen as another meaningful step towards institutionalizing the high-level engagements between India and the CARICOM nations. It follows the establishment of the CARICOM-India Joint Commission in 2015, the resumption of Ministerial meetings, and the first CARICOM-India Summit-Level Meeting in 2019. These engagements have given impetus to the relationship and provided policy guidance for future CARICOM-India interactions and are seen as another step towards strengthening relations.

4. The meeting discussed how the strategic partnership can advance the Region's priorities, such as climate change, agriculture & energy. The solidarity and support from India are seen to contribute towards regional integration objectives including agriculture, ICT, climate change and disaster risk management.

5. The ministers discussed the wide-ranging sectoral cooperation, including in Trade & Economy; Agriculture & Food Security; Health & Pharma; Energy & Renewables; Infrastructure, ICT & eGovernance; Development Partnership & Capacity Building; Higher Education; Culture and P2P domains. They also exchanged views on vital issues of Climate Change & Disaster Resilience; Counter Terrorism; Reformed Multilateralism and closer cooperation at multilateral forums. They also agreed on follow-up steps, including holding the second Joint Commission Meeting this year.

6. External affairs minister S Jaishankar underlined the pressing global issues, including Covid-19, climate events, debt and trade stress, and food and energy security during the fourth India-CARICOM ministerial meeting. "Covid, increasing intensity and frequency of climate events, the debt and trade stress situations that many of us find ourselves in and food and energy security concerns are really pressing issues where it is important for us to sit down and discuss," said Dr Jaishankar, who co-chaired the meeting.

7. India, which currently chairs the G20, is keen on supporting countries not on the table through the ‘Voice of Global South’ process, he added. "This year we have the privilege of chairing the G20 and my PM is very clear that we (should) be there not just for ourselves but also for the countries who are not on the G20 table. Therefore, we did a round of consultations on what we call the Voice of Global South process," EAM Dr Jaishankar said.

8. At the India-CARICOM ministerial meeting, EAM Dr Jaishankar put forward a proposal for small and medium-scale enterprises in the Caribbean and suggested supporting individual projects of up to a value of a million dollars on a grant basis and creating a partner group in India to provide machinery, technology, and training. "What we'd like to do is to create a partner group in India and see whether our capability which will include the supply of machinery, technology, training - if we can get really viable project offers from your side, we would be very happy to look at that," Dr Jaishankar said.

9. He also highlighted the importance of health security and proposed a regional hub for low- cost generics from USFDA-approved plants in India. The minister explained that India has a domestic initiative for cost-effective generics, which could benefit low-income consumers globally. "If you feel that is of interest, we are creating a system for low-cost generics to be available to your people. We would like to create a regional hub for that. All of these would come from USFDA- approved plants of which currently we have about 600 in India," he said.

10. Jaishankar emphasized India's willingness to support and partner with the countries in the CARICOM region and globally to tackle pressing global issues.

11. CARICOM Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett, in her remarks spoke about the solidarity and support from India that continues to contribute to the advancement of regional integration objectives in areas such as agriculture, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), climate change mitigation and adaptation, and disaster risk management. “The multi-sectoral capacity building programming under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme has benefited CARICOM Member States greatly. The Government of India has provisioned US$150 Million in concessional credit to the Region. In addition, CARICOM-India knowledge sharing has been facilitated in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, through ICT Centres established in Grenada and Guyana and, most recently, through the secondment of an Indian Fisheries Expert to the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM). The CARICOM Secretariat itself has also benefitted from the generosity of the Government of India through its provision of equipment, training and technical assistance in ICT”.

12. Dr S Jaishankar also held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from other participating countries. In his meeting with Hon’ble Albert Ramdin of Suriname they discussed bilateral and multilateral issues of interest. In his meeting with Foreign Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts and Nevis, they noted the resonance in agriculture and digital domains, and emphasized that India will always voice the concerns of the Global South.

13. With the Bahamas Parliamentary Secretary Jamahl Strachen, who is himself an Indian alumnus, both sides discussed ISA, CDRI, training and UNSC reform. In his meeting with FM Joseph Andall of Grenada topics of discussion included advancing the development partnership and reaffirmation of belief in Reformed Multilateralism.

14. Barbados Foreign Minister Kerrie Symmonds then exchanged views on working together in domains of renewable energy, health and skills. Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith of Jamaica, who, earlier in the day had effectively co-chairing the India-CARICOM meeting, then discussed taking forward cooperation in training & development partnership. They also agreed on importance of business to business exchanges for stronger ties

15. In his meeting with Dr. Amery Browne, Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, they discussed on taking forward the development partnership focusing on digital transformation and health domains and cooperation at multilateral forums.

16. He also met the FM of St. Vincent and Grenadines Keisal Peters and FM Alva Baptiste of St Lucia. His meeting with the St Vincent & Grenadines FM, discussions centered on interest in Millets, ongoing projects and further expanding of cooperation.

17. On 22 April 2023, the second day of his ongoing visit to Guyana, Dr. S. Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister of India called on Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana in his Office. Both sides held comprehensive discussions covering the entire range of aspects of cooperative relationship between Guyana and India. President Dr. Ali was accompanied by Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo; Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd; Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill; Minister of Natural Resources Vickram Bharrat; Minister of Public Service Sonia Parag; Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar and the Foreign Secretary Mr Robert Persaud.

18. This was followed by the 5th Session of the India-Guyana Joint Commission co-chaired by Dr. Jaishankar and Foreign Minister Todd during which the two sides took stock of the progress being made in the identified areas of cooperation between the two countries. Eight Joint Working Groups which were constituted by Prime Minister Modi and President Dr. Ali after their meeting in India in January 2023 to strengthen cooperation in Agriculture, Ayurveda, Education, Energy, Health, Human Resources, Infrastrucutre and Technology & Innovation had held their meetings in virtual mode earlier and informed the India-Guyana Joint Commission to concretize cooperation between the two countries. The participants in the JCM included senior officials of the concerned Ministries and agencies both from India and Guyana.

19. Dr. Jaishankar and Minister Todd also witnessed the signing of the Air Services Agreement and Declaration of Intent to sign the Mobility Partnership Agreement between India and Guyana. Air Services Agreement was signed by Minister of Public Works of Guyana Bishop Juan Edghill and Dr. K.J Srinivasa, High Commissioner of India to Guyana. The Agreement provides a legal framework that opens market access for airlines of both countries to operate and enhance competitive air transport services, trade, and economic growth between the countries. The Declaration of Intent to sign Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement was signed by Indian High Commissioner Dr. Srinivasa and Mrs. Elizabeth A. Harper, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation.

20. In the afternoon, Dr. Jaishankar chaired the first ever India-Guyana Business Round Table along witih Foreign Minister Hugh Todd, Minister in the President’s Office with the Responsbility of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh and Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Mr. Deodat Indar. A high-level delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry, which is accompanying Dr. Jaishankar on his visit to Guyana, also participated in the Business Round Table. The Business Roundtable saw a largescale and enthusiastic partcipation from the Government agencies and Private sector companies in Guyana representing cross section of economic activities.

21. Five agreements were signed between (i) United Phosphorus Limited and Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Guyana for promotion of Millets; (ii) CII and Private Sector Commission for promoting collaboration between the two umbrella business associations; (iii) upgradation of Joint Business Council between FICCI and PSC; (iv) collaboration MoU between CII and Guyana Oil and Gas Energy Chamber; and (v) Guyana Office for Investments and Decipher Health Records from India for establishing a BPO in Georgetown.

22. The highlight of the Business Event was the launch of first-ever India-Guyana Chamber of Commerce headed by former cricketer Ramnaresh Sarwan and including private sector companies from both sides.

23. Dr. Jaishankar in his remarks emphasized that as agreed to by Prime Minister Modi and President Dr. Ali, India-Guyana cooperation in energy, health and pharma, development partnership & capacity building, agriculture, innovation, technology and defence and infrastructure will be the drivers of our ties. He underlined that his presence in Guyana is intended to take forward the momentum created and new energies infused by the recent visits of President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo as strong economics will complement shared values in taking our partnership to a new level.

24. Dr. Jaishankar met with the Speaker of the National Assembly Manzoor Nadir in Guyana and shared views on close historical and cultural relations between the two cooperative and multicultural democracies.

25. He called on Prime Minister Brig (Retd) Mark Phillips in his Office and discussed strengthening of cooperation between the two countries in energy, disaster resilience & preparedness and defense cooperation.

26. Dr. Jaishankar visited the East Bank-East Coast linkage road construction project being executed by Indian company M/s Ashoka Buildcon with a US$ 50 million Line of Credit from the Governmente of India. RITES, a public sector Undertaking from India is the Project Management Consultant in this project.

27. President Dr Ali hosted a dinner in honour of Dr. Jaishankar at the State House in the evening. Both President Dr. Ali and Dr. Jaishankar in their brief remarks agreed to further strengthen the cooperative relations between India and Guyana including G2G and B2B.

28. On 23 April, Dr. Jaishankar visited one of the prominent mandirs in Guyana, Shri Rama Krishna Mandir in Georgetown and offered his prayers. He also had interaction with devotees present at the Mandir including a large number of diaspora community.

29. Dr. Jaishankar paid a floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Promenade Garden in Georgetown. The statute of Mahatma Gandhi at Promenade Gardens was unveiled in October 1969 to commemorate Gandhiji’s 100th birth anniversary. Dr. Jaishankar also laid a wreath at Independence Arch, which was established in May 1966 dedicated to Guyana’s independence

30. Dr. Jaishankar visited Indian Arrival Monument at Palmyra in Berbice and met with the Indian Diaspora from Region 5 & 6 in Guyana.

31. Dr. Jaishankar along with President Dr. Ali inaugurated the Ocean-Going Ferry MV Ma Lisha, built with Grant and Line of Credit for US$ 12.73 million from the Government of India. The Ferry is designed and built by a premier Indian Public Sector Undertaking, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers and would be the largest and fastest passenger and cargo ferry in Guyana. It can carry 294 passengers (including a 14-member crew), 14 cars, two trucks, 14 containers and other assorted cargo.

32. Dr. Jaishankar also interacted with the Indian Community and Diaspora in Guyana in the evening at a Diaspora Event in Hotel Marriott, Georgetown.


Georgetown, 23.04.2023