President Ram Nath Kovind will address a joint session of the Jamaican Parliament

President Ram Nath Kovind will address a joint session of the Jamaican Parliament

Between May 15 and 21, President Ram Nath Kovind will travel to Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines for a seven-day state visit. In Jamaica, he will give a speech during a joint session of Parliament. This will be the first visit by an Indian Head of State to these two countries, demonstrating India’s commitment to small island developing states and the Caribbean Community, of which both of these countries are members. The President will be joined by his wife, Pankaj Chaudhary, Minister of State for Finance, and members of parliament Satish Kumar Gautam and Rama Devi. Addressing a press briefing ahead of the visit, Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that President Kovind will visit Jamaica from May 15-18 before departing for Saint Vincent and Grenadines (SVG). “The visit (to Jamaica) is of historical significance because it is happening at an important milestone in the history of both countries. This year is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Jamaica. India and Jamaica are also celebrating the 75th and 60th anniversaries of their independence respectively,” he said.

President Kovind will also hold interactions with the significant Indian community in the Island country, and a number of agreements are also expected to be signed between the two countries. This year marks the 176th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Jamaica. Jamaica has a 70,000 strong Indian diaspora. President Kovind will visit Saint Vincent and Grenadines from May 18-21 and will hold meetings with Governor-General Susan Dougan and PM Ralph Gonsalves. President Kovid will also take part in activities including a banquet hosted by the Governor-General, a working lunch and a reception hosted by the Prime Minister, as well as interactions with the Indian community and locals in the small Island country. “This first-ever visit from India to Jamaica and SVG highlights our commitment to development partnership and sharing of experience, knowledge and skills with small island developing states.,” Saurabh Kumar said. “The visit also underlines the importance we attach to our relations with the Caribbean Community,” he added.

During the course of his visit, the President will hold discussions with the GovernorGeneral of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen and Prime Minister Andrew Holness. He will deliver an address at the joint sitting of Parliament and participate in a community reception. The Governor General and her spouse will host a banquet in honour of the President and Smt. Kovind. The Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding will call on the President and a road in the capital city of Kingston will be named after Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, to mark the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. The President would inaugurate the India Jamaica friendship garden by planting a sandalwood sapling there. “He would interact with a wide cross-section of the Jamaican society and as a mark of our common love for cricket he would hand over cricket kits for aspiring young cricketers to the President of the Jamaican Cricket Association,” Kumar said.

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