New Delhi/Georgetown (Guyana): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in Guyana on a three-day official visit, his first as foreign minister. He said he looks forward to a productive visit.
He arrived on Thursday night, and was received at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hugh Todd.
In a tweet, the EAM said:
“Arrived in Georgetown, Guyana to a warm reception from FM Hugh Todd.
“Look forward to a productive visit.”
EAM Jaishankar is leading a six-member delegation on an official visit to Guyana. A packed agenda has been planned.
“We [have been] working very assiduously over the past few years where we are actively engaging with Guyana from India, working on many new projects [and] building a strong partnership,” India’s High Commissioner to Guyana, KJ Srinivasa said during a pre-arrival press conference on Wednesday.
During Jaishankar’s three-and-a-half-day visit, he will convene with Foreign Ministers from some 13 of the 15 Caribbean Community (Caricom) Member States during a joint meeting as well as one-on-one bilateral discussions.
He will also engage with President Dr Irfaan Ali; Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo; Prime Minister, Brigadier (Retired) Mark Phillips and Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, according to a report.
The External Affairs Minister will be co-chairing a joint commission meeting between the two countries to engage with representatives from eight prominent sectors: agriculture; infrastructure; defence; health and pharmaceuticals; technology and innovation; energy – including renewable energy; human resources and capacity building; and ayurveda and wellness.
On Sunday, Jaishankar will be at the inauguration of the passenger ferry built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd in collaboration with the Government of Guyana.
His visit also includes a business roundtable discussion with over 80 leading Guyanese companies, a site visit to the East Coast-East Bank bypass road, and visits to the Non-Aligned Monument, Mahatma Gandhi Monument and the Independence Monument where he will pay tribute and lay wreaths; a trip to Kaieteur Falls and lastly, a community reception with members of the Indian Diaspora and Indian passport holders.
The visit by EAM Jaishankar follows the official visits to India by President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo in February, which saw discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on energy cooperation, infrastructure development, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, technology and innovation, and defence cooperation.
“We are following up on various discussions which happened during the high-level visits in January and February. India and the growing friendship with Guyana have been always [maintained] with mutual respect and cooperation,” Srinivasa said. “We accept that we are equal partners in business, non-interference in internal affairs, and respect for territorial integrity.”
India, as the current chair of the intergovernmental forum G20, is working across the developing world and has involved Guyana previously for input especially on food security given the country’s leading position within Caricom on reducing food imports by 25 per cent by 2025, Srinivasa added.
As part of his Latin American tour, Jaishankar will also be visiting Panama, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic.
EAM Jaishankar is on an official visit to Guyana (April 21-23). He will be in Panama (April 24-25), Colombia (April 25-27) and the Dominican Republic (April 27-29). This is his first visit to these countries as EAM, and will help add to the momentum of the India-LAC engagements.
In Guyana, EAM will be calling on the leadership and interacting with several Ministers. He will be co-chairing the Joint Commission Meeting with his counterpart, Hugh Hilton Todd that will entail discussions on the whole gamut of issues between the two countries. EAM’s visit to Guyana would also be an opportunity for a meeting of Foreign Ministers in the India-COFCOR (Council on Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR); a group of 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM)) format and hold bilateral meetings with participating Ministers, an official statement said.