Guyana India

Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of Guyana Carl B. Greenidge pose for a picture Jan. 30. (Sushma Swaraj Twitter photo)

NEW DELHI — In a bid to enhance New Delhi's ties with the Caribbean region, India and Guyana Jan. 30 signed three agreements, including on renewable energy and cultural exchange, following bilateral talks between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Second Vice President and Foreign Minister of Guyana Carl B. Greenidge here.

"Three memorandums of understanding, namely, renewable energy, cultural exchange program and framework agreement on International Solar Alliance were signed," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement following the meeting.

"Guyanese delegation also presented the Instrument of Ratification of the International Solar Alliance," it stated.

The India-initiated ISA, launched at the U.N. Conference of Parties climate summit in Paris Nov. 30, 2015, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande, is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and provide a platform to collaborate on dealing with the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

According to the External Affairs Ministry statement, Sushma Swaraj, during the meeting, referred to the historical and multifaceted ties between the two sides.

"The subsequent discussions focused on further strengthening India-Guyana bilateral relations, through cooperation in capacity building, promotion of business and trade, enhancement of people to people contact, cooperation on pharmaceuticals, sharing India's experience in information technology by setting up IT centers of excellence in Georgetown," the statement said.

Views were also exchanged on regional and multilateral issues such as climate change, solar alliance and U.N. Security Council reforms.

Bilateral trade between India and Guyana stood at $34.58 million in 2016-17.

India has done some high-visibility projects under line of credit in Guyana, including a cricket stadium, traffic lights in capital Georgetown and supply of 14 irrigation drainage pumps.

A line of credit of $17.50 million for modernization of three primary health centers has been approved by the Indian government.

Guyana is also home to a large number of people of Indian origin, comprising nearly 40 percent of the country's total population of around 738,000.

Most of them are descendants of indentured labor taken from India in the 19th century and early 20th century to work in sugarcane plantations.

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