India-Saint Lucia Relations
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St. Lucia

Political

St. Lucia and India enjoy cordial bilateral relations, actively cooperating in international organizations like the United Nations, Commonwealth, and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) as well as other multilateral platforms. The bilateral ties have sustained momentum through exchange of high level visits.

 

In 2018, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of St. Lucia held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi, discussing bilateral relations and mutual interests. In 2019, Prime Minister Modi announced a US$14 million grant and a US$150 million Line of Credit for projects related to solar energy, renewable energy, and climate change for Caricom member states during the India-CariCom Meet of Heads of State/Government.Earlier in 2015, former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony met with the PM Modi during the UNGA meeting, discussing bilateral relations and shared concerns.

 

In 2016, Indian Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy visited St. Lucia and held meetings with St. Lucian Ministers and other important figures. This visit marked a significant milestone in the two nations' relationship, generating interest among local businesses, the Indian Diaspora, NRIs, and social organizations. In September 2019, Ezechiel Joseph, Minister for Education, Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources, and Cooperatives, participated in the UNCCD meeting in New Delhi.

 

Development Partnership and Capacity Building:

India-UNDP has supported a project for skills training for St. Lucia's marginalized youth and contributed to the Public Assistance Program of the Government of St. Lucia. In 2018, India completed a project focused on poverty reduction through livestock development. In 2019, India became an International Development Partner of the CariCom Development Fund (CDF) with a contribution of $1 million. St. Lucia has also provided support during Hurricane Maria, including a donation of $500 for recovery efforts and $250,000 for the reconstruction of St. Jude hospital. India has also provided life-saving drugs and protective gear worth $100,000 to St. Lucia and its people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

In January 2023, the Minister for Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology, and Vocational Training of Saint Lucia, Mr. Shawn Edward, met with the Foreign Minister of Saint Lucia, Mr. Alva Baptiste, at the India-COFCOR Meeting in Guyana. The External Affairs Minister of India offered Saint Lucia a grant of USD 1 Million for a project in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector. However, an Expression of Interest is still awaited from the Saint Lucian side.

 

In September 2019, the India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) Project titled "Poverty Reduction in St. Lucia through Livestock Development" was completed, with a budget of US$1,291,100. The project consists of two components, with the UNDP serving as the implementing agency. The second component, a public assistance program, was implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) with a budget of US$0.5 million. The project, "Upgrading Saint Lucia's capacity to provide Impactful Vocational Training for Marginalized Youth," funded by the India-UNDP Fund, is currently underway with a total budget of US$992,724 and is likely to complete soon.

 

MoUs/ Agreements/ Treaties:

St. Lucia ratified the ISA Framework agreement on October 29, 2019, following its signing on October 25, 2019. The Foreign Service Institute of India submitted a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Sardar Patel National Police University and the Diplomatic Academy, which has been pending since February 2020. St. Lucia recognized the Indian Pharmacopoeia via Note Verbale No. PE060/2021 on March 1, 2021. St. Lucia sent a proposed Agreement for Exchange of Information and Assistance in Collection of Taxes (AEI&CT) with track changes for India's consideration, which was taken up with the LAC Division on February 9, 2022, and forwarded to the Ministry of Finance of India for necessary action. An MoU for the waiver of visas for diplomatic and official passport holders is pending on the Saint Lucian side. Discussions are ongoing with the Government of Saint Lucia regarding the formalization of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) pertaining to the Extradition, visa exemption for individuals holding official and diplomatic passports, and collaboration in tax collection facilitation.

 

UN Reforms/Multilateral

St. Lucia has consistently extended support to India's candidacies for International bodies like the International Court of Justice, International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Executive Board of UNESCO, and International Maritime Organization. India has also supported St. Lucian candidates for the World Customs Organization, World Health Organization, and International Civil Aviation Organization in 2019.

 

In 2019, St Lucia signed and ratified the ISA Agreement and extended support to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). In 2021, St Lucia supported India's candidature for various positions, including External Auditor of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Postal Operations Council, Council of Administration of the Universal Postal Union, International Organization for Standardization, External Auditor of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Human Rights Council, International Law Commission, International Criminal Police Organization, UNESCO World Heritage Committee, International Maritime Organizations, and IPCC election. St Lucia has expressed its commitment to India's aspiration for a non-permanent seat on the UNSC and a Permanent Membership on the UNSC. However, it has not yet formally conveyed its written support for India's candidature for a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for the term 2028-2029.

 

Trade and Investment

Bilateral trade between India and St. Lucia is limited due to the country's small size, population of 179,000, and modest economy. The New India Assurance Company represents the only Indian investment in St. Lucia, with a commitment of US$ 2.8 million.

 

Economy

 

Financial Year

Export to Saint Lucia

(US$ Million)

Import from Saint Lucia

(US$ Million)

Total Bilateral Trade

(US$ Million)

1

2019-2020

3.24

0.61

3.85

2

2020-2021

3.40

0.39

3.79

3

2021-2022

4.07

0.14

4.21

4

2022-23 

5.13

0.11

5.24

5

2023-24 (Apr-Jun)

1.06

0.27

1.33

 

St. Lucia's economy has seen positive impacts from foreign direct investment in sectors like offshore banking, transshipment, and tourism. The country's infrastructure, educated workforce, and efficient port facilities attract investments. However, the government faces challenges due to high public debt and servicing costs. Market openness is limited by high tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Despite these challenges, St. Lucia has entered into a Bilateral Investment Treaty with Germany and the United Kingdom and is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Education

In 2017, two Foreign Service Officials participated in the PCFD/CARICOM special diplomatic training program at the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS) in New Delhi. Two more Foreign Service Officers also attended the 65th PCFD and 70th PCFD courses respectively.

Culture

The Indian Cultural Foundation (ICF) of St Lucia, in collaboration with the Embassy of India in Paramaribo, organized the annual 'Namaste St Lucia' event in 2017, celebrating Indian culture. The event was attended by Ms Fortuna Belrose, the Minister of Culture. In 2022, the ICF observed the International Day of Yoga as part of the Guardian Ring program. Saint Lucia has three prominent Indian organizations: the ICF, the Indian Heritage Foundation, and the Sanatan Hindu Organization. The Sanatan Hindu Organization, established in 1997, promotes awareness and education about the Hindu religion. The ICF collaborates with the Embassy in Paramaribo to organize cultural events.

 

Indian Community 

St. Lucia, established as a British colony in 1814, has a rich history of Indian roots dating back to Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh. The first ship, the Palmyra, arrived in St. Lucia in 1859, carrying 318 indentured workers from India. The last ship, the Volga, arrived in December 1893, marking the end of the transportation of nearly 4,500 Indian indentured workers to St. Lucia. The Indian population in St. Lucia reached 2,560 individuals by the late 19th century. The Indian community is advocating for the St. Lucian Government to officially recognize May 6 as Indian Arrival Day.

 

Currently, there are approximately 18,600 Indian-origin individuals in St. Lucia, with 5% in mixed marriages. However, most have assimilated into the local population, with some maintaining their distinct Indian identity. A small number of wealthy businessmen from the Indian origin community, with 150 naturalized Indians (PIOs), are associated with wealth and influence. The Indian Diaspora also comprises of Indian professionals, particularly doctors employed both in public and private sector in St. Lucia and a small number of Sindhi businessmen are engaged in imports, trading, and duty-free shops.

 

St. Lucia houses three offshore medical colleges owned by the Indian diaspora, primarily catering to American/Canadian nationals of Indian origin or Indian nationals. These campuses are Spartan Health Sciences University (SHSU), American International Medical University (AIMU), now Commonwealth University College of Medicine, and International American University (IAU), with around 250 Indian students currently pursuing medical studies.

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