Kovind Greece

President Ram Nath Kovind speaks during the inauguration of the National Highway from Matabari to Sabroom in Udaipur in the Gomati district of Tripura June 7. Kovind will embark on an eight-day tour, during which he will visit Greece, Suriname and Cuba. (IANS photo)

NEW DELHI — President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on an eight-day, three-nation tour starting June 16 that will see him going to Greece, Suriname and Cuba, it was announced June 12.

Briefing the media here, Subrata Bhattacharjee, joint secretary, Central Europe, in the External Affairs Ministry, said that Kovind will reach Greece June 16 at the invitation of Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulus.

He will hold a meeting with Pavlopoulus as well as with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Leader of the Opposition Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Kovind will also meet Indian and Greek CEOs and deliver a speech on "India and Europe in a Changing World" at the Hellenic Foundation for Europe and Foreign Policy, a leading Greek think tank.

According to Bhattacharjee, India-Greece bilateral trade stands at $530 million and Indian companies are also involved in the infrastructure, pharmaceutical and steel sectors in the central European nation.

Kovind will also interact with members of the Indian diaspora in Greece, a community of 12,000 people.

From Greece, Kovind will leave for Suriname June 19 in what will be the first-ever visit by an Indian head of state to the South American nation.

Partha Satpathy, joint secretary, Latin America and the Caribbean, said Kovind's visits to Suriname and Cuba reflect the importance New Delhi is giving to ties with Latin America.

Last month, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu visited Guatemala, Panama and Peru.

While in Suriname at the invitation of President Desi Bouterse, following official talks it is expected that agreements will signed, including on health and information technology. India will offer lines of credit as part of development assistance.

With 37 percent of Suriname's population being of Indian origin, Kovind will also lay the foundation of a Vivekananda Cultural Center.

Most of these Indian-origin people are descendants of indentured labor brought to work in sugarcane plantations, the first batch of whom arrived in 1873.

On June 21, Kovind will participate in activities as part of International Yoga Day.

From Suriname, he and his delegation will leave for Cuba, which again will be the first-ever presidential visit from India to the Caribbean island country.

Satpathy said that both India and Cuba are important partners in the global South-South cooperation.

He said that Kovind will interact with Cuba's new leadership under President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

Four agreements are expected to be signed, including in the areas of biotechnology and traditional and alternative systems of medicine.

Kovind will conclude his visit  June 23.

According to President Ashok Malik’s press secretary, this will be Kovind's fourth and last foreign visit in the first year of his presidency. In all, he will have visited 10 countries. 

During the visit, the president will be accompanied by Minister of State for Steel Vishnu Deo Sai, two members of the Lok Sabha, Dinesh Kashyap and Nityanand Rai, and senior officials.

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