India will extend a Line of Credit of USD 31 million and a concessional financing of USD 20 million to Suriname as the two countries agreed to strengthen their economic relations and development partnership after President Kovind held talks with his Surinamese counterpart Desire Delano Bouterse. President Kovind, who is on a three-day visit to the Latin American country, announced that India will extend concessional financing of USD 20 million for setting up a solar project to provide clean energy to a cluster of 49 villages in Suriname. India will also extend a Line of Credit of USD 27.5 million to support a power transmission project in PikinSaronarea and another Line of Credit of USD 3.5 million for maintenance of Chetak helicopters.
The president also received the Ratification Instrument of Suriname joining the International Solar Alliance from Bouterse. India also agreed to assist Suriname to establish a Centre of Excellence in information technology. An MoU to take forward this project was signed. Besides, the two sides also concluded four MoUs in the fields of elections, diplomatic academies partnership, employment for spouse of diplomats of the two countries and archives. Suriname invited Indian investment in areas such as agriculture, mining, energy and timber. During the talks, Suriname accepted India’s invitation to attend the 11th World Hindi Conference to be held in Mauritius in August 2018 as well as the Business Conclave to be held between India and CARICOM in Trinidad and Tobago soon.
Addressing the National Assembly of Suriname, Kovind, who arrived here on June 19 on the second leg of his three-nation tour to Greece, Suriname and Cuba, said development cooperation, under the rubric South-South cooperation, is an important pillar of Indo-Surinamese relations. Kovind was the first foreign Head of State to address the National Assembly of Suriname. In 1988, then Vice-President of India Shankar Dayal Sharma had addressed the House.
“Paramaribo and New Delhi are almost 14,000 km apart. Yet, despite this trans-oceanic gap, our countries have much in common. Both Suriname and India are multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-ethnic democracies,” he said. Speaking on the climate change, he said, “This is an international concern, a foreign policy issue – and yet, for the people of Suriname it is a deeply-felt existential challenge. I must commend your country for its enlightened approach on climate change. You have shown a determination that even much larger and wealthier nations have shied away from.”
Kovind said India has extended financial grants for a craft market project and a digital literacy programme. “We hope our assistance will help in promoting economic sustainability and capacity building of women and children in Suriname,” he said. He said India wants to strengthen our capacity building partnership with Suriname through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme as well. “We have, therefore, offered to raise the annual scholarships to Suriname under the programme from 40 to 50,” he said.
Kovind said that President Bouterse has expressed Suriname’s continued support for India’s aspiration to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. “We also expressed our deepest concern on the threat posed by terrorism and conveyed strong support to each other to fight the global menace,” he said. India and Suriname also agreed to enhance cooperation to promote Ayurveda and other traditional medicinal systems of both countries. Suriname has been celebrating 145 years of arrival of Indian diaspora to the country and Kovind’s visit coincidesd with the celebration.