On May 15-21, 2022, the President of India Ram Nath Kovind paid an official visit to Jamaica and St. Vincent & Grenadines (SVG) with his wife Savita Kovind. This was the first ever visit by an Indian President to these countries(Jamaica and SVG).
- It is a continuation of India’s high-level engagement with the countries in the Caribbean region and emphasizes commitment to work with Small Island developing countries.
- President Kovind was accorded a ceremonial welcome, a Guard of Honour and a 21-gun-salute during his visit to Jamaica.
Visit to Jamaica:
On May 15-18, 2022, he visited Jamaica to hold delegation level talks with his counterpart, the Governor General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Allen. He arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston, Jamaica where he was accorded a Guard of Honour.
- This visit took place in the 60th anniversary year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India-Jamaica.
- India and Jamaica are celebrating 75th and 60th anniversary of their independence respectively.
Key Parts of Visit:
i.Indian President commenced his engagements by visiting the National Heroes Park in Kingston to pay his tributes to Marcus Garvey.
ii.He visited King’s House, the official residence of the Governor General of Jamaica to meet Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.
iii.He also met the Prime Minister (PM) of Jamaica Andrew Holness, and other dignitaries.
iv.He addressed the Joint Sitting of the two Houses of Jamaican Parliament.
v.The President attended the Indian Community and friends of India Reception hosted by Masakui Rungsung, High Commissioner of India to Jamaica.
- He presented cricket kits to Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) which was received by President of the Association, Mr Billy Heaven.
India, Jamaica sign MoU for cooperation in Diplomatic Training
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Jamaica for cooperation in diplomatic training in Kingston city. It was inked in presence of President Ram Nath Kovind, and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
- The MoU seeks increased cooperation between the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica by facilitating close academic and training exchange for foreign service officers of Jamaica in SSIFS.
Inaugurations by Indian President in Jamaica
i.Indian President visited Downtown Kingston where he inaugurated Ambedkar Avenue in presence of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, Mayor of Kingston city, Delroy Williams and members of the Indian community.It is a road named after Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar.
ii.He also inaugurated the India-Jamaica Friendship Garden during a visit to Hope Botanical Garden in Kingston, and planted a sapling of sandalwood in presence of First Lady of Jamaica, Lady Allen who is the Patron of the Garden, among others.
iii.President Ram Nath Kovind laid a wreath at Marcus Garvey Shrine in Kingston, Jamaica.
Points to be noted:
i.Jamaica is also one of the Girmitya countries with a 70,000 strong Indian diaspora.
ii.India is assisting Jamaica in capacity building and skill development through the courses in various esteemed educational institutions under the India Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme.
- India also increased ITEC slots from 30 to 50.
Visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG):
On May 18 -21, 2022, the Indian President also paid a 4-day visit to SVG to hold discussions with his counterpart Governor General Ms. Susan Dougan, and to meet its PM Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves as well as other dignitaries.
- President Ram Nath Kovind was accorded a Guard of Honour on arrival at the Argyle International Airport, SVG.
Key Parts of Visit:
i.During his meeting with SVG’s Governor General and PM, discussions were held to strengthen cooperation in the fields of information technology, health, education, tourism and culture and in the multilateral fora.
ii.Both sides signed two MoUs on Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection of Taxes, and on Refurbishment of Old Carter Community Centre.
iii.Indian President visited the Botanical Garden in Kingstown where he planted a sapling of the Indian White Sandalwood.
iv.He addressed the special sitting of the House Assembly of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the topic ‘India and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Towards an Inclusive World Order’.
Saint Vincent renames ‘Calder Road’ to ‘India Bharat-Drive Marg’
The Indian President renamed ‘Calder Road’ to ‘India Drive-Bharat Marg’ in Kingstown, in presence of PM Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and members of the local community.
Points to be noted:
i.In SVG, 1st June is declared as Indian Arrival Day, and October 7 as Indian Heritage Day.
ii.India and SVG were both non-permanent members of the UNSC in 2021 and shared good cooperation during this period.
iii.Jamaica and SVG are active members in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Recent Related News:
i.On February 10-15, 2022, Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India visited Australia and Philippines to impart further momentum to bilateral relations.
ii.On January 4, 2022, the Prime Minister (PM) of India, Narendra Damodardas Modi, visited the states of Manipur and Tripura. He inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 22 Developmental Projects worth over Rs. 4800 crore in Imphal, Manipur.
Currency– Jamaican dollar (JMD)
About Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG):
Currency– Eastern Caribbean dollar