India - Suriname Relations
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India-Suriname Relations

 

Political

India enjoys close, warm and friendly relations with Suriname, reinforced by cultural and people to people contact bridged by Indian Diaspora's arrival dating back to 145 years.  Over 2,37,000 Persons of Indian origin hailing from eastern Utter Pradesh and Bihar, and some 50 Sindhi families living in Suriname contribute significantly to economy, civil service, technocrats and composite cultural milieu of Suriname .  

Several high level visits have been exchanged since establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Suriname. The  Vice President of Suriname H.E Ashwin Adhin, during his private visit to India in March 2016 ,  called on  the Hon’ble Prime Minister on March 11, 2016 and discussed bilateral issues including issues of mutual interest   . Vice President Adhin also delivered an invitation from the President of the Republic of Suriname to the Indian Prime Minister for a state visit.

In January 2017, VP Adhin was invited as the special guest in the Youth Pravasi Bharitya Divas, held in Bengaluru during January 06-09, 2017.  During his visit he met Prime Minister on January 08 2017 on the side-lines of PBD Conference and held meetings with the Ministers of AYUSH and the Road Transport and Shipping. Besides those high profile meetings, he also met business entities to explore    business opportunities and collaboration in the areas of Ayurveda, medicinal plants and contract farming.    Minister of State, Gen (Retd) V.K.Singh visited Paramaribo on April 28, 2017 in connection with sixth Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and Suriname and held high profile bilateral meetings with the President, Vice President and Foreign Minister.

Finance Minister of Suriname Gillmore Hoefdraad visited Mumbai from September 19-21, 2017 on a working visit. During his visit he met the representatives of various chambers of commerce and potential investors and briefed them about the business potential in Suriname in the areas of Oil & Gas, Mining, Gold, Solar Energy and Bauxite. VP Adhin visited Delhi in March 2018 to participate in ISA Founding Conference and held bilateral talks with Prime Minister on March 11, 2018 

President of India paid a state visit to Suriname from June 19-21, 2018 on an invitation of the President of Suriname with a high level delegation comprising Mr Vishnu Deo Sai, Minister of State for Steel. Five MOUs were signed in the areas of Centre for IT Excellence, cooperation between the electoral authorities, National Archives, Cooperation between diplomatic Institutes and Remunerative employment of dependents of the diplomatic personnel of the two countries.  The two LOC agreement on EBS transmission line for US$ 27.5 and maintenance of Chetak helicopters for US$ 3.5 million   were signed during the visit. A LOC of US$ 20 million for ISA projects towards rural electrification of  the villages of Suriname was announced also. President of India has extended an invitation to  the President of the  Republic of Suriname to visit India which has already been accepted. 

An Agreement to set up a Joint Commission was signed in September 1992 and six JCMs have been held so far.  During 6th JCM in Paramaribo in April, 2017, India announced US$ 30 million as line of Credit to Suriname. Three MoUs were signed in the areas of Visa waiver for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports; Work Plan of Joint Working Group (JWG) on Agriculture for 2017-21; and, Suriname Bureau of Standards and the Indian Bureau of Standards. Cooperation in the areas of setting-up of AYUSH Chair, an ICT Centre of excellence in Suriname and Election authorities of both countries are under active consideration of the both governments

Two small grants projects for Community development and women entrepreneurship were announced during the visit of the President of India namely Craft Market place in Paramaribo for US$ 175602 and every student a computer for US$ 109800. The first lady of India donated US$ 10000 to Mytyl School as charity. Govt of India provided a cash assistance of US $ 50000/- to the Government of Suriname for flood victims of the interiors in 2018. Earlier in 2017, General (Dr) V.K. Singh handed over a cheque of US$150,000 to the Government of Suriname as humanitarian assistance for the rehabilitation of the victims of flooding in Suriname..  A grant of US$ 29988/- has been provided to the Surinamese government for school going children community development project in August, 2017

In 2015, Under Grant in Aid for LAC, the Ministry of External Affairs sanctioned a grant of US$ 3, 11, 567.21 for upgrading of the‘s Lands Hospital morgue in Paramaribo. Also a sum of   US$ 1, 69,400/- was  made available  as an assistance to the Institute for Natural Resources and Engineering Studies (NATIN) of Suriname. 

India had earlier provided four Credit lines worth US$ 57 million to Suriname to set up water pumps, power transmission lines, Crash Fire Tenders and coastal equipment.

Exim Bank of India has provided a loan of US 8.4 million to the Ministry of Agriculture, Suriname for rehabilitation of pumping station of Wageningen, under Buyers Credit programme in August, 2017.

 

Economy

            Trade and economic links between India and Suriname are modest.  Indian export to Suriname consists of boilers, machinery, iron & steel, electrical machinery & equipment, sound recorders, pharmaceutical products, textiles, vehicles, coffee, tea and spices, rubber, paper, tobacco, organic chemicals, furniture, carpets, ceramic products, footwear and printed books; Indian import consists of wood, aluminium and electrical machinery

 

Exports to India

2015 -16               US$ 43.33 million

2016-17               US$ 45.92 million

2017-18                US$ 92.76 million

 

Imports from India

2015-16               US$ 12.86 million

2016-17               US$ 10.59 million

2017-18               US$ 17.38 million

A four member pharmaceutical delegation from Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers led by Shri Sudhansh Pant, Joint Secretary visited Suriname from April 07-10, 2015 to explore possibilities of future cooperation in Pharma sector. Draft  MOU is  awaited from the Ministry of Health of Suriname for cooperation in Pharma sector. A draft  MOU on cooperation  on  health and medicine  is under active consideration.

As a follow up to the Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of agriculture which was signed in 2003, the first ever Joint Working Group of Experts from both sides met in New Delhi on July 28, 2014. The agreement for revised draft work plan for the years 2017-2021  has been  signed during the sixth JCM

The MOU between newly founded trade body of Suriname i.e Suriname India Chamber of Commerce(SICCI) and Industry and the CII has been finalized and already signed by CII in the presence of Surinamese Ambassador in Delhi .

 

ITEC

                 Under ITEC programme the slots reserved for Suriname are 50 during the year 2018-19.  There is lot of interest in training programmes in rural development, banking, ICT, mass media, solar energy etc. 

 

Culture And Education

Indian Cultural Centre in Suriname was opened in 1978 and very actively pursues soft-power diplomacy initiatives and the whole gamut of ICCR’s outreach including , Hindi language, Kathak, Yoga and classical music. India provided yearly grants worth US 29500/- for promotion of Hindi in Suriname in the year 2016, 2017 and 2018; as approximately 80 voluntary Hindi schools are functioning in different district of Suriname. Two Surinamese students are currently learning Hindi in the Kendriya Hindi Sansthan in Agra. Surinamese students have also shown keen interest in various scholarship schemes of ICCR and currently two students are studying BAMS course in India under AYUSH scholarship.

Three Indian musical/dance  groups from ICCR visited Suriname  in the year  2016. On the occasion of Holi, a six member music troupe led by noted Bhakti singer Rajesh Pandey visited Suriname in March, 2016 whereas the other 12 member troupe led by Bhola Pandey visited in July 2016 during post Eid celebrations.  A 12 member Bhangra Group performed in Suriname on November 26& 27 on the occasion of Deepavli and Independence Day of Suriname.     

Noted academician and historian from Suriname Prof Mauris S. Hassankhan attended the PBD panel discussion on   the topic” Documenting History of migration and achievements of Diaspora in Girmitiaya countries” held on August 23, 2016 in New Delhi.  Mr Dew Sharman, MP participated in the PBD Panel discussion on “Role of Indian diaspora community organization” in New Delhi on November 12.

A two member NAI  delegation led by  the Director General of National Archives of India  visited  Suriname  from June 19-23, 2018   under the   provision of  existing MOU on  bilateral cooperation in the field of culture and mounted an exhibition on  Indentured labour in Paramaribo in collaboration with the Govt of Suriname . The   MOU extending  cooperation between the National Archives for  another five years  was  signed  during the visit of the President of India.

Suriname has made substantial progress in the AYUSH cooperation with India. Suriname celebrated National Ayurveda Day on October 16, which was inaugurated by the Acting President Ashwin Adhin. On November 10, a Congress on “Traditional system of Medicines’ was organised in Paramaribo with the collaboration of the Government of India. Dr B.R.Patel, AYUSH expert from India was the keynote speaker in the Congress. The  draft MOU on AYUSH Cooperation as agreed to by  Surinamese side is under consideration of the GOI for  finalization.

Dr RiadNur Mohamed, Member of Parliament from Suriname participated in the 2nd ICWA-LAC Conference in Brasilia on May 18, 2018

Nine PIOs Members of Parliament from Suriname across the party lines participated in the first PIO Parliamentarian Conference held in New Delhi on January 09, 2018.

A four member musical group led by   Radhika Chopra was sponsored by ICCR to Suriname during the period May 27-June 07, 2018 to participate in the 145th anniversary of the Indian arrival in Suriname.

Govt of India sponsored five scholars from India to participate in the Conference on Legacy of Slavery and Indentured Labour in Paramaribo from June 18-23. 2018           

 

CONSULAR ISSUES

            Since almost 37% of the total population of 5, 73,311 is of Indian origin, demand for OCI cards is approximately 400 per year. The electronic travel authorisation system (eTVA)  for Suriname   has  been  implemented, reducing the number of visa applications to an average of 30 application per month. Suriname introduced visa liberalization policy for Indians and “visa on arrival” facility extended to Indian Nationals with effect from 01st March, 2016.

 

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