Photo : Paras Ramoutar
Port-of-Spain: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Trinidad and Tobago counterpart, Dr Keith Rowley, have agreed on a new healthcare model, which could include the teaching of traditional Indian medicine here, according to a press statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister..
Both Prime Ministers met at the Commonwealth Heads of Government m (CHOGM) meeting in London. The healthcare training which India was invited to participate in as, "an exciting new model" will be done at the billion-dollar Couva Hospital, formerly known as the Couva Children's Hospital built by the last People's Partnership Administration under former Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, the first woman and of East Indian descent.
The hospital remains closed although it was officially opened by the then Prime Minister in 2015, weeks before the general election. The People's National Movement Government has indicated that it would become functional in 2018, but so, far there has been no movement towards that end.
Traditional Indian medicine, according to the statement, is known as Ayurvedic which originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and its concepts promote the use of herbal components, special diets and other unique health practices.
Prime Minister Modi, in his discussion with Dr Rowley, indicated that India was interested in partnering with Trinidad in areas of information communication technology (ICT), energy and pharmaceuticals, adding that India would be happy to contribute to this country's development in keeping with its economic priorities.
Prime Minister Rowley welcomed Prime Minister Modi's request for collaboration and identified additional areas where opportunities exist for both countries to work together; these areas include tourism, healthcare and agriculture.
According to the statement, Prime Minister Rowley also sought assistance in aviation training for local helicopter pilots and Prime Minister obliged. The question of direct air transport between both countries for direct links and the free flow of tourists were also on the agenda.
The leaders agreed that technical teams would develop to enhance these initiatives. Additionally, the leaders also invited each other to visit their respective countries.
India and Trinidad and Tobago established diplomatic relations in 1962, soon after the latter became independent in August 1962. Several Prime Ministers from both countries have made reciprocal visits to each other's country, the first being Indira Gandhi in October 1968.
Approximately 44 per cent of the people of 1.4 million are of East Indian extraction, whose forefathers were sourced from India, principally Uttar Pradesh and Bihar between 1845 and 1917.
Shri Bishwadip Dey is currently India's High Commissioner here.