Remarks by the Hon. Moses Nagamootoo Prime Minister & Acting President Of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana On the Occasion of the 68th Republic Anniversary of the Republic of India
It gives me great pleasure to join with you on this auspicious occasion to celebrate the 68th Republic Anniversary of India. On behalf of the Government and the people of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and on my own behalf, I wish to extend best wishes for the continued prosperity and success of the Government and people of the Republic of India, as you observe this milestone.
Guyana and India established diplomatic relations on May 26, 1966. However, the bonds which exist between our countries date back to the colonial era when Indians arrived as indentured labourers aboard the steamships such as the ‘Whitby’ and ‘Hesperus’ in May 1838.
That a beginning in the then British Guiana has been symbolized by a monument depicting the Arrival of Indians , a gift from your Government, Excellency, which will be erected in the coming months in recognition of and homage to our ancestors from the Sub- continent. Moreover, as you have alluded, the national mottos of our two countries suggest that our nations were forged in the reality of multiculturalism, and I concur that such diversity must be enjoyed and harnessed for the betterment of society.
Excellency, our relationship over the past fifty years has been based on the principles of mutual respect, cultural/historic ties and the non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Our special and mutually beneficial friendship has been characterised over the years by frequent reciprocal high level visits which date back to a time when Guyana was a newly independent state. Among those early efforts to nurture our relations was the 1968 visit to Guyana by the late Shrimati Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India , the visit of the late Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, the then Vice President of India in 1988, and Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the then Vice President of India, in 2006.
Over the years bilateral relations remained strong ever since and Guyana’s leaders have also been received and welcomed in India, on many occasions when President Bharrat Jagdeo and President Donald Ramotar visited. During November, 2016 I travelled to India twice to attend the 3rd World Tamils Economic Conference, in Chennai and the World Conference of Chief Justices in Lucknow when I exchanged views with Government officials as well as potential investors. On both occasions I reaffirmed the Government of Guyana’s commitment to working together with the Republic of India for the common good of both of our countries. Moreover, at the United Nations General Assembly, our Foreign Ministers met in the spirit of strengthening our relationship both at the multilateral and bilateral levels.
Excellency, today, as India celebrates its Republic Day your government and the people Indian should be immensely proud at the transformation that India has experienced over the past 68 years. More so, the ambitious growth trajectory Prime Minister Modi has envisaged and pursued is ample testimony to the fact that your country is on the right path of development. It is indisputable that India enjoys the reputation of being one of the fastest growing economies in today’s world.
India has also made significant advancements in the areas of information technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, infrastructural development and agriculture. Guyana, therefore, looks forward to further deepening its relations with India and hopes that our two countries can continue to share experiences and knowledge, as we seek to reduce and eradicate poverty among our peoples.
Excellency, as you are aware, the Government of Guyana views economic growth and climate change as not mutually exclusive but as the foundation of sustainable development. Hence we have embarked on a quest of transforming our economic landscape into that of a Green Economy. Like India, Guyana is a signatory to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and has adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda which provides the framework for the realization of the Green Economy. The Green Economy seeks to pursue economic development by ensuring that our resources are exploited sustainably for the benefit of all Guyanese. In this regard, as exemplary South-South cooperation, Guyana and India can examine ways to collaborate on issues such as smart cities, wind turbines, hyro-power and other mechanisms which provide sustainable, clean, renewable energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
Excellency the Government of Guyana is extremely grateful to the Government India for providing over the years various Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programmes as under this mechanism numerous Guyanese have benefitted from expert training in India in the fields of science, health, education, technology, agriculture and in the Humanities.
My Government is also extremely appreciative of the recent loan of US $ 50 million for the construction of a 20km bypass road from Ogle on the East Coast Demerara to Diamond on the East Bank Demerara. Your government has also extended a line of credit for $ 10 million and a grant-in-aid of US $ 8 million for the acquisition of an ocean going passenger ferry costing US$ 18 million. I am heartened by the fact that our request with regard to the three Primary Health Centres is under active consideration by your Government. Assisting countries like Guyana with people-centered development efforts continues to be the hallmark of the Government and people of India, and I wish to record my appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the Government and people of Guyana.
Excellency, as we celebrate the 68th Republic Anniversary of the Republic of India, it is apposite for Guyana and India to recommit to working together for the wellbeing and prosperity of our peoples. You have mentioned, I believe that trade between our countries could improve through the effective promotion of reciprocal exchange of Commercial visits by our business sector, and that our Government welcomes.
Right now in Guyana, is a representative from one of the world’s largest specialist companies in the sugar sector to explore how Indian technology and investment could benefit the sugar industry. I had met this company in New Delhi and extended an invitation for this visit. Also, last month, an exploratory visit was made by the organizer of the World Tamiles Business Association and I have since received a letter of interest from the Chamber of Commerce of the Global Organisation of Peoples of Indian Origins (GOPIO) to visit as well.
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, in closing, please join me for a toast to the prosperity of the Republic of India and to the continued peaceful and friendly relations between Guyana and India.