India disturbed over crimes on Guyanese Indians - Joshi
Stabroek News
August 17, 2002

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India has observed with grave concern the recent developments in the country in which a number of heinous crimes have been committed on members of the local Indian community.

In his speech on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of India's Independence on Thursday, India's High Commissioner to Guyana, Dr Prakash V. Joshi said crimes committed on members of the local Indian community have caused "much unease and unhappiness" in India.

Commenting on the current situation in Guyana, Joshi gave the assurance that the government and people of India stood by the people and government of Guyana at this juncture.

The Indian government has also renewed its invitation to President Bharrat Jagdeo to visit India. "We are eagerly looking forward to your visit," which he said would give major impetus to the growth of cooperation between Guyana and India in various fields.

The Indian government, he said, would be willing to play any possible role to ensure maintenance of democratic institutions in Guyana and that all its communities are able to live and work in peace and harmony.

Reviewing activities over the past year, Joshi felt that the sharing of a common understanding and perspective was reflected in the heightened tempo of economic cooperation. Bilateral trade, he said, stood at US$6.3 million against US$2.75 million a few years earlier.

He announced that very soon, India would hand over "a mobile vehicle which will be used to train people in rural areas in various aspects of agro-based industries."

In the cultural milieu, Joshi said, "we continued our efforts to project different facets of India's culture and heritage through special programmes and music, dance, etc, rendered by students and teachers of our cultural centre."

Expressing thanks to the local media, particularly the television channels for excellent cooperation in this area, he said he had little doubt that they contributed in further bringing the peoples of Guyana and India together.

In bilateral relations, he described last year as being momentous. During the period, a number of important dignitaries from India visited, among whom were members of the High-Level Committee on Indian Diaspora headed by Dr L.M. Singhvi, as well as Ambassador-at-Large Dr Bhishma Agnihotri. These visits, he said were reflective of the importance the Indian government attached to strengthening of links with overseas Indians in different parts of the world.

Commenting on the state of the economy in India, Joshi said that despite recessionary conditions prevailing in many parts of the world, India's economy managed to register a growth of over six per cent last year. Foreign exchange reserves stood at US$58 billion.

India's information technology (IT) sector is looked on as one of the most advanced in the world and IT professionals were in demand the world over.

Saying that India was successfully feeding over one billion people and yet leaving a comfortable surplus in its granaries, he said that it had become the number one milk producer in the world.

On strained relations between India and Pakistan, he said that this was due to the open support "being given by the Government of Pakistan to terrorists committing heinous crimes against humanity in India, especially in Jammu and Kashmir." In recent times, he said, many innocent lives have been lost as a result of the violence.