Georgetown: Describing Guyana as a “very special partner” of India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said that the two countries are forging a partnership that is fit for the purpose in the contemporary era.
Addressing the Indian community here, Jaishankar, who is on his first official visit to Guyana, also apprised them of his discussions with the top Guyanese leadership and the two countries’ common resolve to upgrade the level of their partnership.
“Delighted to interact with the Indian community today evening in Guyana. Thank Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and Speaker Manzoor Nadir for joining us. Conveyed that we are forging a partnership that is fit for purpose for the contemporary era,” he tweeted after addressing the diaspora on Sunday.
He said India shares a closer, deeper and more emotional relationship with Guyana and his presence in the country’s capital was an expression of that.
”Something has changed for the better, There is today energy, focus and commitment in the relationship which is quite remarkable,” he said, adding that the successes, challenges and travails of the diaspora are very much in the heart of people in India.
”From an Indian perspective, we see a Guyana which is poised to enter a new era, looking at prospects and potential which perhaps it could not have imagined a decade ago, and for whom, partnerships, time-tested friendships and old relationships could have a very different meaning.
”A Guyana that is girding itself up to play a much more prominent role in the region, and in the global economy. It’s also a Guyana which is ready for a higher level of partnership with a country like India,” he said in his address.
Jaishankar said the bilateral ties will move to a ”very different level”.
”For us, Guyana is a very special partner. Because of shared traditions, heritage and culture, and all of this is underpinned by a belief in societal and political values. It’s always important to remember as pluralistic societies, as political democracies, as market economies, we share the fundamental principles, and countries that do have the ability to work together more closely than those who don’t,” he said.
He also noted that there are two big lessons to be drawn from the Covid-19 pandemic about health and food security.
”There are lessons to be drawn from Covid-19, about health security, health spending, about health preparation… Second big lesson from that period is actually food security… We are looking at a world where uncertainties have risen very sharply. Increasingly frequent climate events, of greater intensity with each year, These things need to be factored in while running the international order today,” he said.
Earlier in the day, he met Guyanese service officers who had undergone training in India.
Jaishankar was also joined by the President of Guyana Irfaan Ali at the commissioning of the India-made ferry MV MA Lisha.
”MA Lisha means friendship. The ferry made by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers in Kolkata is its practical expression. This ferry would significantly enhance connectivity within Guyana. It will provide mobility and economic opportunities for distant hinterlands,” he said.
”Visited the evocative monument to Indian arrival in Berbice, Guyana. Shared my admiration of their endeavours and successes with the diaspora. Thank Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Charles Ramson Jr. for joining,” he said in another tweet.
Jaishankar paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at his memorial and planted a tree for the India-Guyana friendship.
He said Gandhiji’s message for climate consciousness was universal and timeless. Jaishankar also joined the diaspora at the Ram Krishna Dharmik Mandir here for morning prayers and thanked Minister of Human Services Vindhya Vasini Persaud for participating in it.
”So glad to see how traditions, heritage and customs are being maintained,” he said.
Jaishankar co-chaired the 4th India-CARICOM ministerial meeting with his Jamaican counterpart Kaminaj Smith in Georgetown on Friday.
He met Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the UN headquarters in New York on Thursday before embarking on a nine-day trip to Guyana, Panama, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, his first visit as the external affairs minister to these Latin American countries and the Caribbean.