Guyana’s Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo wrapped up his five day official visit to India. The VP engaged several Indian government officials including the President, Vice President, and Ministers.
The High Commission of India in Guyana issued a release summarizing the VP programs and activities:
“Vice President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, visited India from 20-25 February 2023 on an official visit which heralded a further galvanization of ties between India and Guyana. Vice President was accompanied by a high-level delegation including Dr Ashni Singh – Senior Minister within the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, top representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture and a high-level business delegation from Guyana. This visit was seen as a continued engagement between the two countries after the official visit of President H.E. Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali to India from 8-14 January 2023.
During his current visit to India, Dr. Jagdeo held extensive discussions with Her Excellency President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu, Hon. Vice President of India Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, 4 important Cabinet Ministers of the Government of India, engaged various leaders of India’s private sector and also participated in the World Sustainability Development Summit organized by TERI in New Delhi from 22-24 February 2023.
Vice President Jagdeo’s discussions with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar on 21 February centered on the historical relationship between the two countries and greater opportunities in partnership, especially in trade, energy, agriculture, skills and people-to-people ties. Both agreed that greater frequency of India-CARICOM ties could further “galvanize ties” between India and the region. The two leaders also discussed India’s current Presidency of the G-20 to address major issues related to the global economy, such as climate change mitigation and sustainable development. Dr. Jaishankar assured Dr. Jagdeo that concerns of the Global South which includes Guyana and other Caribbean nations would be strongly represented during India’s G-20 Presidency.
During Dr. Jagdeo’s engagement with India’s Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Hon. Narendra Singh Tomar on 21 February, various agriculture-related issues were discussed including the rice, sugarcane, coconuts, agro-processing, aquaculture, fisheries, dairy, livestock sectors etc. Also discussed were ways and means to strengthen collaboration to improve skills and capacity building in the vital agricultural sector of Guyana and the promotion of bilateral trade between the two countries in the agricultural sector.
On 22 February, Dr. Jagdeo met Hon. Vice President of India Dr. Jagdeep Dhankhar and discussed strategies to strengthen bilateral partnership in various sectors including petroleum and natural gas, agriculture, agro-processing, education, healthcare, capacity building, renewable energy, ICT and climate change. Both leaders appreciated the close and cordial relations shared by India and Guyana based on strong people-to-people ties, economic linkages and commonalities of approach on multilateral issues. Hon. Vice President of India hosted the Guyanese Vice President for a banquet lunch.
On 22 February, the Cabinet of the Government of India approved the Air Services Agreement between India and Guyana which would come into force after the exchange of the diplomatic notes between the two parties confirming that each side has completed the internal procedures for coming into force of the Agreement. Signing of such an Agreement between India and Guyana will enable a framework for provision of air services between the two countries.
On 24 February, Dr. Jagdeo called on Her Excellency Smt. Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace of India) during which both leaders discussed bilateral engagements and ways to strengthen bilateral partnership. The President of India stressed on the high importance that India attaches to its relations with Guyana owing to the shared heritage, culture and historic backgrounds and stressed the need to further diversify the bilateral trade between the two countries. Indian President Droupadi Murmu also expressed confidence that the visit of Vice President Jagdeo would further deepen historical assets of friendship between India and Guyana.
India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hon. Hardeep Singh Puri called on Dr. Jagdeo in a very productive and fruitful, wide-ranging meeting on several matters of mutual interest and discussed matters pertaining to the entire energy chains including participation in energy assets, commitment for long-term off-take and capacity building initiatives in the oil and gas sector of Guyana.
The Indian Health & Family Welfare Minister Hon. Mansukh Mandaviya met Dr. Jagdeo and discussed various issues of bilateral importance in the health sector, including the creation of manufacturing hubs of vaccines, therapeutic and hand holding and training of medical workforce. Hon. Minister shared India’s insights on the successful implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadi Pariyojna (PMBJP) which supplies high quality low-cost generic medicines to the people of India. Also collaboration in ensuring affordable medicines through PMBJP and promoting Ayurveda in Guyana were discussed.
In a televised interview to some Indian media channels and news outlets, Dr.Bharrat Jagdeo spoke about the reasons why India’s assistance and “its great technical skills” could help defining growth of the industry on both oil and gas, especially as Guyana moves to develop a gas policy and to start utilizing the gas resources and in terms of environmental management, building capacity across the country. Dr. Jagdeo thanked the Government of India for all the hospitality and attention to the delegation and its interest in building partnerships. Dr. Jagdeo also spoke at length about India’s leading role as an independent global voice with a more nuanced position on issues of development. He wished India all success in hosting the G-20 for 2023 and praised Indian Prime Minister Modi for the strength of his character and his policies to make enormous advances in various sectors of India for creating Indian stature globally. He also appreciated India’s willingness to represent the interests not only of its own but that of the “Global South” including small countries.
Top executives from public sector enterprises companies of India and thise from private sector including those involved in infrastructure, manufacturing, healthcare, e-Governance initiatives, IT, Agriculture, power and consultancy, automobiles, oil and gas, BPO, solar energy, etc. met both the official and business delegations and discussed opportunities to invest in Guyana and build partnerships across sectors.
Vice President Dr. Jagdeo has been to India multiple times before this visit, including his first visit in 1993 as Finance Minister with the then President Cheddi Jagan, two state visits in 2003 and 2004 as President of Guyana, and as Leader of the delegation of Indian-origin MPs in 2018 to attend the Diaspora MP’s Conference.
Overall, the official visit of Dr. Jagdeo was appreciated at various levels and could pave the way for increasing momentum in bilateral relations while reflecting a new energy. This is the third high-level visit from Guyana to India in the last six weeks, after the visit of Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali and Chief of Defense staff, Brigadier Godfrey Bess.”