Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar will be in India on a 10-day state visit beginning Thursday, during which she will be the chief guest at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) diaspora conclave in Jaipur Jan 7-9.
This is the first visit by Trinidad and Tobago head of state in 15 years, according to the Indian ministry of external affairs.
Persad Bissessar, who traces her roots to India, will be in this country at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. She will be accompanied by her spouse, Gregory Bissessar. The Trinidad and Tobago prime minister will be leading a high-level ministerial and business delegation as the country moves to finalise Memorandas of Understanding (MoUs) in the areas of energy, agriculture, education, medicine, information and communication technology, fashion, film production and animation.
Her delegation will include the ministers for energy, foreign affairs and communications, trade and industry, food production, lands and marine affairs, science, technology and tertiary education and public utilities, as also members of the business community.
Besides Delhi and Jaipur, Persad Bissessar will also go to Jodhpur in Rajasthan, Kolkata, Mumbai, apart from visiting her ancestral village in Buxar district of Bihar, an Indian ministry of external affairs release said.
As the chief guest at the 10th PBD, she will be the first woman head of government in the diaspora and the first dignitary of Trinidad and Tobago to be conferred such a privilege.
Relations between India and Trinidad and Tobago are “time-tested” and based on “strong historical and cultural linkages”, the ministry release said. During their talks, Persad Bissessar and Manmohan Singh will cover various bilateral issues, as also regional and international issues of mutual interest. She will also pay a courtesy call on President Pratibha Patil.
The visit is expected to provide an opportunity to the two nations to further consolidate and expand their mutually beneficial relations, the release added. Themed ‘Trinidad and Tobago-India 2012: Partnering for Diversification, Innovation and Investment’, the visit is set to engage several private and public sector companies and agencies in discussions.
The objective is to attract investment and technical co-operation to Trinidad and Tobago. It aims to capitalise on Trinidad and Tobago’s favourable investment climate and ideal geographic position as a gateway to the Caribbean, Latin American and European markets.
Ahead of leaving for India, Persad Bissessar said in Port of Spain: “The bonds of friendship, our intertwined history due to the excellent diplomatic and cultural relations already enjoyed between the countries, have created a solid foundation.”
“On this, we may develop stronger, more resilient and concrete trade and investment ties for the mutual benefit of both the countries’ citizens.”
The Trinidad and Tobago prime minister left for India Tuesday and will reach India Thursday. She will be in India till Jan 14 and return home Jan 16.
Photo credit: Reuters