India cements ties with Caribbean, Latin American nations

India on Wednesday cemented its links with Caribbean and Latin American nations as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held separate meetings with leaders of the two major blocs of the region.

Sushma Swaraj attended the India-CELAC quartet ministerial meeting and hosted the India-CARICOM foreign ministers’ meeting here on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is an organisation of 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies to promote economic integration and cooperation among the members.

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) is a regional bloc of 33 Latin American and Caribbean states.

Quite a few of the nations in both groups, including Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, have a large Indian-origin populace, of Indians who migrated here in the 19th and early 20th century to work in the sugarcane fields.

“India’s ties with the Caribbean region are historic and civilisational,” Sushma Swaraj said in her address at the India-CARICOM ministerial meeting, according to tweets posted by external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

“India and Caricom share similar concerns & common aspirations for accelerated economic development and eradication of poverty,” she said at the meeting.

“India offers assistance to Caribbean countries in capacity building, IT, agriculture, pharma, SMEs, and many other areas,” she said.

She also called for partnership with Caricom on text-based negotiations for UN Security Council reform.

She then attended the India-CELAC Quartet Ministerial Meeting.

“Expanding the circle for the second meeting of the day. EAM @SushmaSwaraj at India-CELAC Quartet Ministerial Meeting,” Swarup tweeted.

“EAM addresses India – CELAC Quartet Ministerial Meeting with the Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic & Barbados,” he posted.

“Our two-way trade with CELAC is $46 billion. We should boost cooperation in energy, Science & Technology, health care, agro chemicals,” she said at the meeting.

She also called for India-CELAC coordination on global issues like international terrorism, climate change and UN Security Council reform.