India on Wednesday (local time) extended a grant of USD 150 million as Line of Credit to the member states of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) for climate conservation projects.
Chairing the India-CARICOM Leaders’ meeting here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced a USD 14 million grant for community development projects to the Caribbean nations.
Leaders of 14 CARICOM countries participated in the meeting that took place on the sidelines of the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly here. Prime Minister of St Lucia and current Chairman of CARICOM, Allen Chastenet, co-chaired the meeting with the Indian Prime Minister.
The meeting deliberated on the strengthening the political and institutional dialogue processes, boosting economic cooperation, increasing trade and investment and fostering greater and more robust people-to-people relations between India and the CARICOM countries.
Modi also emphasised on partnering with CARICOM countries in capacity building, development assistance and cooperation in disaster management and resilience.
It was the first-ever meeting of the Indian Prime Minister with the CARICOM leaders in a regional format and where he highlighted the steadily intensifying and deepening relations between India and partner countries of the Caribbean, not only in the bilateral but also in the regional context.
Modi reiterated India’s firm commitment to strengthen its political, economic and cultural engagement with CARICOM. He recalled the presence of more than a million-strong Indian diaspora as a vibrant and enduring link of friendship with the Caribbean.
He invited the CARICOM countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure. The International Solar Alliance is a group of 121 solar resource-rich countries with headquarters in Gurugram, India. The organisation aims to deploy over 1,000 gigawatts of solar energy and mobilise more than USD 1,000 billion into solar power by 2030, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Prime Minister also expressed his condolences on the destruction caused by Hurricane Dorian in the region and the worst-hit island of Bahamas to which India has provided immediate financial assistance of USD one million.
He also announced the setting up of a Regional Center for Excellence in Information Technology in Georgetown, Guyana, and the Regional Vocational Training Center in Belize by upgrading the existing India-funded centers in these countries.
The Indian side also expressed support to specialised capacity building courses, training and deputation of Indian experts based on the needs and requirements of the CARICOM countries.
In addition, the meeting also focused on setting up of a Joint Task Force to expeditiously look into possible areas of cooperation and identify the way forward.
In his concluding remarks, the Prime Minister invited a Parliamentary delegation from CARICOM to visit India in the near future. Meanwhile, the CARICOM leaders, on their part, welcomed India’s initiatives to strengthen engagement and cooperation between the two sides and reassured full support from their respective governments.
The meeting was attended by the Heads of Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Vice President of Suriname, and Foreign Ministers of Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Haiti and Guyana.