Guyana backs India for Security Council seat By Mark Ramotar
Guyana Chronicle
November 8, 2006

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PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo last night assured visiting Indian Vice President Mr. Bhairon Singh Shekhawat of his government’s firm commitment to supporting India’s bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

“We believe that your country is amply qualified for such representation and should truly earn its rightful place,” President Jagdeo told Mr. Shekhawat and his delegation at a gala dinner he hosted for the visiting Indian delegation at his State House residence in Georgetown.

The Guyanese Head of State noted that on the international scene, Guyana and India share similar positions on issues of major importance such as the promotion of democracy, human rights, development, security and reform of the United Nations.

He noted that over the last forty years, Guyana as a young nation has benefited greatly from its association with India, the world’s largest democracy.

The technical assistance received in the fields of education, science, technology and culture, as well as economic cooperation have all had a positive impact on Guyana’s economic and social development, he said.

According to the President, the high level of cooperation between India and Guyana was further reflected yesterday afternoon in the signing of several agreements, such as that for a cultural exchange programme for the period 2007–2009 and another for the establishment of the Rabindranauth Tagore Resource Centre at the University of Guyana.

“I am confident that these agreements in two important areas – culture and information technology – will serve to further enhance our special relationship,” the President told the Indian delegation at the dinner.

“This is a splendid example of South-South cooperation, in which an advanced country like India can help a small developing country like Guyana emerge further on the path to equitable development,” he posited.

President Jagdeo also said there is much that Guyana can learn from the experience of India in nation building.

He noted that the Government is very pleased that Mr. Shekhawat had accepted the invitation to visit Guyana to represent the Government of India for the dedication ceremony this morning of the modern, state-of-the-art cricket stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara.

“We are highly appreciative of the assistance received from your government for the construction of the stadium, a project which was agreed upon during my state visit to India in August 2003,” Mr. Jagdeo told the Indian Vice President.

&Coming as you do from a cricket-loving nation, you will identify I am sure with the pride and satisfaction the Government and people of Guyana feel in having the opportunity to host a segment of matches for Cricket World Cup 2007,” he said with the assurance that Guyana is committed to having a highly successful tournament.

As is now fully recognized, sports can be an important catalyst for building national unity and development, President Jagdeo said, adding that the stadium may therefore be considered “a significant investment in our future, by offering to our people – particularly our youth – the opportunities to practice their athletic skills and to aspire and reach their full human potential”.

Vice President Shekhawat, in his remarks, referred to President Jagdeo as a “true and endearing friend” and congratulated him on his recent re-election as President of Guyana.

&The peaceful, free and fair elections is a reflection of the maturity of the democratic process (and) also the leadership of Guyana,” Mr. Shekhawat asserted.

“We hold Guyana in very high esteem; we are very much appreciative and admire the progress made by your country (and) after having been here, I do not have any doubt in mind that Guyana is decisively on the path of peace and progress,” the Indian Vice President told the high-level gathering comprising top officials from both countries.

Alluding to the “long history of friendship which has stood the test of time regardless of geographical distance”, he noted that both Guyana and India share cultural diversity and commitment to democracy.

He also told President Jagdeo that India is committed to accelerating the pace of cooperation between the two countries.

&#We believe that the constructive cooperation between our two countries would be to our mutual advantage, that only by acting together with understanding and shared values, we shall be partners in contributing to evolving a better world-order,” Vice President Shekhawat posited.