CARICOM, India affirm value of diplomatic cooperation

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and India on Friday (3 October) affirmed the importance they attached to diplomatic cooperation as a new Indian envoy was accredited to CARICOM.

During a short ceremony at the Secretariat, in which High Commissioner of India to CARICOM, H.E. Vankatachalam Mahalingam presented his Letters of Credence to Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, the High Commissioner said the relationship had matured since 1997 with a convergence of views on international issues related to climate change, sustainable development, concerns of Small Island Developing States and renewable energy.

As CARICOM and India deepen diplomatic relations, he said his country was pleased with the move to commence the second CARICOM-India Joint Commission in 2015. The Joint Commission is a mechanism for dialogue between the two parties to enhance cooperation in political, economic, environmental, health, scientific and technical spheres.

Ambassador Irwin LaRocque told the High Commissioner the CARICOM Secretariat was anticipating preparatory discussions to engage on matters of mutual interest including the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The elaboration of that agenda, he said, would provide “a great opportunity” for developing countries to ensure their development challenges were addressed in a more holistic way.

In respect of the just concluded Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Ambassador LaRocque said that the Community looked forward to “the full support and assistance” of India at the multilateral level to advocate issues of strategic importance to small countries.

“Of significance to our Member States in this regard are measures to alleviate the crushing debt burden which many of them face and addressing the policy of graduation which denies these heavily indebted countries access to development financing principally due to the use of per capita income as the determining factor in measuring levels of development,” Ambassador LaRocque told the newly accredited Indian envoy.

Given India’s awareness of the effect of natural disasters, the Secretary-General said CARICOM welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with it on ways to implement strategies which promote resilience, adaptation and mitigation to climate change.

The newly accredited envoy acknowledged the “major role” CARICOM has played in “protecting the region’s interest” and pledged his country’s commitment to collaborating with the CARICOM Secretariat for “common and mutual benefits.”

He said India had taken note of CARICOM’s first-ever Strategic Plan for 2015-2019 and keenly looked forward to the accelerated implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) given the steady increase of Indian corporate forays into the region.

High Commissioner Mahalingam also noted India’s anticipation of the Community’s support in the restructuring of the United Nations (UN), including the UN Security Council.

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