Mon, 29 May 2023

New Delhi [India], May 9 (ANI): With India seeking to deepen its friendly ties in the Caribbean, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Monday held talks with the Foreign Minister of Jamaica Kamina J Smith ahead of President Ram Nath Kovind's visit to the island nation.

Commenting on the candidature of the Jamaican FM for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Jaishankar expressed confidence in her vision for the future of the association.

This comes as President Kovind is set to visit Jamaica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) from May 15 to 21 in the first-ever visit by any Indian Head of State to these countries.

Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar wrote, "Good to speak to FM @kaminajsmith of Jamaica. Discussed preparations for the historic visit of the President of India to Jamaica. Was apprised of her candidature for Commonwealth Secretary-General. Her strong credentials and vision bode well for the future of the Commonwealth."Notably, the Government of Jamaica announced the candidature of Kamina Johnson Smith for the post of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. A decision on the appointment of a Secretary-General is to be made during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will take place from 20th to 25th June 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.

According to the statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, during the President's visit, he will hold a delegation level talk with his counterpart, Governor-General of Jamaica, Patrick Allen. He will also meet Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other dignitaries.

The President will also address a joint sitting of the two Houses of Jamaican Parliament.

"Jamaica and India have friendly relations. Jamaica is also one of the Girmitya countries with a 70,000 strong Indian diaspora, which acts as a living bridge with India. The visit comes at a significant milestone as 2022 is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Jamaica," the statement read.

President will also visit SVG from May 18 to 21. During his visit, President will hold discussions with his counterpart Governor-General Susan Dougan and will also meet the SVG's Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves as well as other dignitaries, according to the statement. President will also address the House of Assembly of SVG.

SVG is an important partner of India. India and SVG were both non-permanent members of the UNSC in 2021 and shared good cooperation during this period.

"Jamaica and SVG are active members in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The first-ever Head of State visit to these countries is a continuation of India's high-level engagement with the countries in the Caribbean region and emphasizes our continued commitment to work with Small Island developing countries," the statement reads.

Notably, India and Jamaica are also celebrating their 75th and 60th anniversary of their independence respectively. (ANI)

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