Guyana, India sign enhancing cooperation accords
...President Jagdeo honoured at State Banquet
Guyana Chronicle
August 26, 2003

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There were gun salutes, a procession by the Mounted Regiment and the Indian Army and an inspection of a Guard of Honour.

President Jadgeo and his team then proceeded to the Rajghat Samadhi, the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he observed a minute of silence and laid a wreath.

The President and his delegation held discussions with an Indian Government delegation led by Prime Minister Vajpayee at Hyderbad House in New Delhi.

These meetings resulted in agreements on enhancing cooperation between Guyana and India.

Later, the President and his delegation held bilateral discussions with

several Indian Cabinet Ministers, including the Foreign Affairs Minister Yashant Sinha, Minister of Commerce and Industry Arun Jaitley and Minister of Human Resources Development, Dr. Murli M. Joshi.

In the evening, President Jagdeo was the guest of honour at a State Banquet hosted by President Abdul Kalam. President Jagdeo in his remarks at the State Banquet said:

"I wish to acknowledge the gracious sentiments, which you have expressed, and to record my appreciation and that of the members of my delegation for the warm generosity with which the Government and people of India have received us.

Excellency, I join with you and the people of India in mourning the deaths caused by today's bomb explosions in Mumbai. My Government vehemently condemns this tragic occurrence. I wish to assure you of my full support for every effort to dismantle the terror network and bring to justice those responsible for this heinous act.

Mr. President, the vast land of India and its people have long been an inspiration to us in Guyana from our colonial days to the present. As you are aware, a major segment of our population has ancestral ties, dating back to more than a century, to this sub-continent. Only yesterday I was able to visit the village from which my own foreparents came, to meet with relatives. This was an emotional experience for me but also through me a reconnection of Guyanese of Indian descent to their roots.

Mr. President, were you to visit Guyana today, you would see several monuments to the high esteem in which India and its leaders are held.

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi adorns the Promenade Garden in my country's capital ever reminding us of the power and eventual triumph of a philosophy of innate human worth and non-violence. And in another corner of the city is a bust of the late Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, in memory of and tribute to the historic role which he played in the anti-colonial struggle and in championing the Non-Aligned Movement at a difficult time in world history.

Guyana applauds India's abiding commitment to global peace and security. We are ourselves wedded to the philosophy of the peaceful co-existence of States, the avoidance of war and the peaceful settlement of all disputes. It is in our mutual interest and that of all humanity to adhere strictly to the principles and purposes of the United Nations in order to create a just world in which our countries can live in larger freedom. Accordingly, we should work together to secure a United Nations that is more democratic and effective. In this regard, Guyana would be pleased to support India's candidacy for a permanent seat on the Security Council so that this important body might be made more balanced and representative of the developing world.

Mr. President, we recognize the significant progress that India has made especially in the field of technology. We also admire your determination to pursue economic and social policies that are advantageous to the poor.

We in Guyana have benefited in innumerable ways from your country. Through the Guyana-India Joint Commission we can continue to explore new ways of deepening trade and other ties between our two countries. In expressing to you the gratitude of my Government and the people of Guyana for the distinct benefits that have accrued through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme over these many years, I would also voice the hope that the ideas which have emerged during our talks will lead to an even much greater joint enterprise in the future.

Although we are far removed from each other by geography, we can work closer together through a strategic partnership for our common benefit.

Because of our unique location in the Western Hemisphere, we can serve as a gateway for trade into the markets of North America, the Caribbean and South America. I hope that the agreement signed between our Chambers of Commerce establishing the Guyana-India Business Council will establish the framework for this to materialize.

At the political level, as a member of CARICOM and as its representative on the Rio Group, Guyana welcomes the interest shown by India to develop closer ties with Latin America and the Caribbean. In this regard Guyana stands ready to support these efforts aimed at fostering deeper relations between India and the countries of our hemisphere."

The President and his delegation will tomorrow travel to Bangalore as part of the four-day State Visit.