India- St.Lucia
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India-St. Lucia Bilateral Relations

St. Lucia and India enjoy cordial relations and interact actively in the U.N., Commonwealth and NAM.  However, direct bilateral, political and economic contacts have remained limited.  As the population of St. Lucia is very small (approximately 1,86,000 as per the latest census), the scope for bilateral interaction is limited. 

St. Lucia is an active Commonwealth member and is also a member state of regional groups such as CARICOM, Association of Caribbean States (ACS) and Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

High level Visits/Meeting

             St Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet held a bilateral meeting with PM Modi on April 19, 2018  on the sidelines of CHOGM summit and discussed the bilateral relations between the two countries and areas of mutual interests.

           Dr Kenny Anthony, the then  Prime Minister of St Lucia met Indian Prime Minister on September 25, 2015 in New York on the  sidelines of UNGA meeting. The two leaders held talks on developing bilateral relations between the two countries.   

Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship(IC), Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy visited St Lucia from October 03-06, 2016 as part of the outreach initiatives of the Government of India where Ministerial level visits have not taken place in  recent years.

The visit of the Hon’ble Minister was historical from the bilateral relations perspective of the two nations. It   generated huge interest among local business sectors, Indian disaspora, NRIs and various social organizations. Apart from his two official meetings with the St Lucian Ministers namely Hon’ble Ms Sarah Beaubrun Flood, Minister  of External Affairs and Senator Hon’ble Hermanglid Francis, Minister for Home Affairs, Justice and National Security, the Hon’ble Minister interacted  with other important Ministers including Mr Guy Joseph, the Acting Prime Minister of St Lucia, Minister of Commerce, Industrialists, Diaspora Associations, Academicians   and  senior St Lucian government officials.

Bilateral/Multilateral  Cooperation

St Lucia   supported India’s successful candidacies in the elections to International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Tribunal of the Laws of the Seas (ITLOS) and Executive Board of UNESCO and International Maritime Organizations (IMO). 

            The Government of St. Lucia has expressed interest in signing a bilateral agreement with India in the fields of Information Technology, Education, Culture, Sports and Technical Cooperation.

During the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria to Dominica in 2017, NRIs/PIOs, including students were evacuated to St. Lucia. The St. Lucian Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation extended full cooperation to the evacuees.

            India   supported  St Lucia with  a cash donation of US$500,000/- towards assistance in recovery and rehabilitation following flash floods in December, 2013.  Earlier, in December, 2010, India had made a cash donation of US$500,000/- towards recovery and rehabilitation following Hurricane Tomas.

 

Agreements to be signed

Negotiations underway with the Government of Saint Lucia on signing an agreement  for the Exchange of Information and Assistance in the Collection of Taxes. 

 

ITEC Programme

            In order to promote technical cooperation between the two countries, India is providing 15 scholarships slots to St. Lucia under ITEC during 2018-19 which are likely to be utilized. 

 

Trade

Exports to Saint Lucia

2014-15           US$ 2.13 million

2015-16           US$ 2.67 million 

2016-17          US $ 4.33 million

2017-18           US$ 4.06 million 

Indian exports include Iron & steel, vehicles, pharmaceuticals and textiles.

 

Imports from Saint Lucia

2014-15           US$ 0.14 million

2015-16           US$ 0.45 million

2016-17           US $ 0.24 million

2017-18           US$ 0.32 million

Indian imports include iron & steel and aluminium scrap & organic chemicals. There is a branch of New India Assurance Company (T&T) Ltd. In St. Lucia which is doing reasonably good business. There is no other Indian public/private sector company operating in St. Lucia at present.  Most of the Sindhi businessmen have taken up the citizenship of St. Lucia to avoid visa problems.  Similarly, most of the medical doctors and other professionals have also acquired St. Lucian citizenship to avoid work permit problems.

Indian Community /Culture

            There are a number of Indian doctors and other professionals in St. Lucia working in Government and private sector.  There are a few Sindhi businessmen who are in imports, trading and duty free shops.  The total number of such Indians will be around 250 (including families).  There are several offshore campuses of medical colleges in St. Lucia where most of the faculty members and students are either American/Canadian nationals of Indian origin or Indian nationals from South India.  Students study for four to six years  in these medical colleges and later go to the United States/India to complete their clinical experience for the MBBS degree.

There are about 5000 persons of Indian origin who came to St. Lucia in the 19th century as indentured labour.  However, most of these PIOs have assimilated into the local population and few of them maintain their identity.  Most of them have changed their religion and names and are not in touch with India or Indian culture.  

At the invitation of the President, Indian Cultural Forum (ICF), St Lucia, the Embassy of the India, Paramaribo sent multi-talented teacher along with Director, ICC, to participate at the 'Namaste St Lucia' annual event to celebrate Indian culture on 15th October, 2017. Ms Fortuna Belrose, Minister, Culture attended the event.

 

August,   2018

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