Both India and Cuba have strong and friendly relations and stood for South-South cooperation respectively, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said here on Friday.
Briefing media on President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Cuba, MEA Secretary (East) Preeti Saran said, “We have very strong, cordial and friendly relations with Cuba. We are both founding members of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Both have stood for South-South solidarity.”
She underscored that Suriname President Desi Bouterse handed over instruments of ratification for the International Solar Alliance (ISA) while adding that New Delhi and Havana have collaborated with each other closely in the United Nations (UN) and other international forums.
“Suriname President handed over instruments of ratification for ISA. India announced Lines of Credit of USD 27.5 million for the upgradation of the transmission network, USD 3.5 million for maintenance of Chetak helicopters and USD 20 million for solar energy projects in 49 villages,” Saran added.
Furthermore, she termed President Kovind’s visit to Cuba as ‘important’, as the country was celebrating the 145th anniversary of the arrival of Indians to Suriname.
“We have come to the conclusion of President’s successful three-nation visit. In Suriname, he was there for two days. It is an important country for us,” Saran said.
Earlier on Friday, President Kovind spoke on the issue of global cooperation and stressed on the importance of South-South cooperation.
While addressing a gathering at the University of Havana, President Kovind said,” I have chosen to speak on the theme of India and global South as it happens to be central to both Indian & Cuban foreign policy. ”
“The newly developing countries were looking to occupy their space in the comity of nations. The Bandung Conference of 1955 was the first collective voice of the developing countries demanding their sovereignty and territorial integrity. This led to the formation of the Group of 77 at the United Nations. Out of this solidarity was born South-South cooperation which till today forms the bedrock of development partnership within developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America,” he added.
The President further asserted that it is necessary for the developing countries to form the core of South-South cooperation, in order to develop mutual respect and solidarity.
Talking about India-Cuba relations, President Kovind said, “We have strong diplomatic ties and we look forward to enhancing bilateral engagement.”
In the presence of the Cuban President Miguel DÃaz-Canel and President Kovind, two Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in the fields of bio-technological sphere and traditional system of medicine and homeopathy were signed.
India also offered a soft loan for the solar projects under the framework agreement of the ISA, of which Cuba is a founding member.
Prior to Cuba, President Kovind visited Greece and Suriname and discussed issues of bilateral concerns with the concerned dignitaries of respective countries.