November 7, 2006
THE visit to Guyana by the Vice-President of India, Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, should pave the way for a deepening of relations between Guyana and the sub-continent.
He was due here last night on a visit to, amongst other things, dedicate the new cricket stadium being built at Providence on the East Bank Demerara.
The stadium, built with a credit facility extended by the Indian government, together with significant grant capital, represents one of the major projects ever undertaken as part of that country’s bilateral assistance to this country.
The stadium, being built specially to host matches in Cricket World Cup 2007, will from all appearances turn out to be one the premier stadiums within the region for the hosting of events and long after the World Cup should allow Guyana to host important cricket matches, thereby making the initial investment viable over the long term.
The Indian Vice-President is also expected to inaugurate a research facility at the University of Guyana.
In recent years, India has increased its assistance to building Guyana’s human resource capacity by providing an increased number of scholarships in a wide variety of academic disciplines. This has allowed many Guyanese students to benefit from both short term and extended scholarships in that country.
Since these students are contracted to work within Guyana after their studies, the scholarships have provided a welcome addition to improving the skills base of the country.
It is also expected that during the visit of this top State official, efforts will be made to strengthen the cultural, political and economic ties between the two countries.
Guyana shares with India strong historical ties with a large section of the population able to trace their ancestry back to India from whence indentured immigrants came to work on the sugar plantation beginning in 1838.
Upon Guyana gaining independence, India was one of the first countries with which diplomatic relations were established. This relationship has engendered close cooperation at the multilateral level with Guyana and India sharing common positions on a number of issues within the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth.
As India emerges today as a significant global player, it offers to smaller countries like Guyana ties for greater economic cooperation, not only between the government of India and the government of Guyana, but equally between the private sectors of the two countries.
India’s industrial and telecommunication prowess offers a great deal of opportunities for Guyana.
With the strides that India has made over the past years, it is expected that that country will also be looking to improve not only its international image but also markets for its products and services, as well as sources for investment.
While the stadium will therefore be very much in the spotlight during the brief visit of the Indian Vice-President, both countries are sure to sign agreements that would further the ongoing economic cooperation between the two countries, agreements that would cement greater investment and trade between the two countries.
We take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to the visiting Vice-President and hope that his visit will lead to tangible benefits for both countries.