President of India, Droupadi Murmu, paid a visit to Suriname and Serbia from 4th to 9th June 2023. She visited Paramaribo, Suriname at the invitation of Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname and Serbia at the invitation of Aleksandar Vučić, President of Serbia.
- This mark’s her first state visit after assuming office in July 2022 and this also marks President Droupadi Murmu’s first visit to Europe.
- President Murmu’s visit to Serbia is the first-ever visit by an Indian President to Serbia.
President’s Visit to Suriname:
On 4th June 2023, Droupadi Murmu, President of India, reached Paramaribo, Suriname on the first leg of her State Visit to Suriname and Serbia.
Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname received her at Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport.
President Murmu honoured with the highest civilian award of Suriname
i.During her visit, Suriname President honoured President Murmu with the “Grand Order of the Chain of the Yellow Star” the highest civilian honour of Suriname.
- She became the 4th recipient and the first Indian to receive this honour.
ii.The Order was instituted in 1975 at the independence of Suriname and replaced the Dutch Order of the Netherlands Lion. the award is presented to individuals recognising their meritorious service to the Surinamese people or nation.
MoUs & Work plan signed Between India & Suriname:
i.During the President’s visit, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and Work Plan were signed between India and Suriname in the field of Health, Agriculture ad capacity building.
ii.The MoUs were signed after the delegation-level talks between the President of India and Suriname.
About the MoU:
i.Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation of India (CDSCO) under the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare(MoH&FW), and Ministry of Health of Suriname signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of medical products regulation.
ii.MoH&FW signed an MoU with the government of Suriname to extend the recognition to Indian Pharmacopoeia.
- Pharmacopoeia is a book containing directions for the identification of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.
iii.Joint Work plan for cooperation in the field of Agriculture and Allied sectors for a period of 2023-2027 under an existing MoU was also signed during the event.
i.On 5th June 2023, Droupadi Murmu, President of India, along with Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi graced the cultural festival organised to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Suriname.
- Note: On 5th June 1873, the first group of Indians reached the shores of Suriname, on board the ship Lalla Rookh.
ii.During her visit, she paid homage at the Baba and Mai monument, a symbolic representation of the first Indian man and woman, who first set foot in Suriname.
iii.She also paid respect at the Mama Sranan monument which represents Mama Sranan, the Mother of Suriname holding her five children, the five ethnicities that inhabit Suriname with care and affection.
iv.She also inaugurated a simulated village modelled on the original habitat of the Indians who came to Suriname. It displayed the lifestyle and circumstances in which they lived.
i.President Droupadi Murmu announced that the government of India has extended the eligibility criteria for the OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) Card up from the fourth generation to the sixth generation of those original Indian immigrants who had arrived in Suriname from Indian territories.
ii.She also announced that India is committed to enhancing technical cooperation and contributing to the capacity-building and skill development of Suriname’s human resources as per the requirements.
President’s Visit to Serbia :
On 7th June 2023, she reached Belgrade, Serbia in the final leg of her State Visit to Suriname and Serbia.
Aleksandar Vucic President of Serbia received her and was accorded a guard of honour at the Nikola Tesla Airport, Belgrade.
i.During her visit she interacted with the Indian diaspora and friends of India at the Community Reception hosted by the Ambassador of India to Serbia, Sanjiv Kohli, in Belgrade.
ii.On 8th June 2023, the President of India, Droupadi Murmu met the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the Prime Minister(PM) of Serbia Ana Brnabic and Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia, Vladimir Orlic and led the delegation-level talks in Belgrade.
iii.She also addressed the India-Serbia Business Forum during her visit.
President Droupadi Murmu and President Aleksandar Vucic agreed to set a target for bilateral trade from the present 320 million euros to one billion euros by the end of the decade.
iv.Serbia President Aleksandar Vucic also promised the simplification of the issue of Visas to Indians.
v.He also stated that the direct flight between India and Serbia will promote tourism and business between both nations.
vi.A high-powered business delegation consisting of members from 3 Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) also held talks with a business delegation from Serbia.
In 2022, the total FDI inflow into India was around USD 77 billion.
The Serbian economy has attracted more than half of the foreign direct investment (FDI) received by the Western Balkans region since 2018.
Prime Minister– Ana Brnabić
Currency– Serbian Dinar
President– Chan Santokhi
Currency– Suriname Dollar