During the visit, President Murmu explored new avenues for bilateral cooperation
President Droupadi Murmu's visit to Suriname from June 4 to 6, 2023, marked a significant milestone in India's bilateral relations with the nation. The visit, at the invitation of President Chandrikapersad Santokhi, held tremendous historical significance as it coincided with the celebrations on June 5 to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Suriname. The Indian diaspora in Suriname, which makes up more than 27% of the population, acts as a living bridge between the two countries. During her stay, President Murmu engaged in official talks with President Santokhi and participated in a series of activities aimed at honoring the contributions of the Indian community and exploring significant sites associated with their history in Suriname. The visit comes within six months of President Santokhi's visit to India, where he held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explore possible areas of collaboration. India-Suriname bilateral relations span sectors such as trade and commerce, development partnership, capacity building, agriculture, and people-to-people ties. The strong bilateral relations between the two countries have resulted in significant development projects, including India's support during the Covid-19 pandemic and the approval of 19 projects under the Quick Impact Projects (QIP) program. Secretary (East) Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Saurabh Kumar shared the highlights as well as the key outcomes of the President’s visit during a special media briefing on Tuesday (June 6, 2023). Key announcements made by President Murmu during her visit include: 1. Extension of the OCI card facility to the fifth and sixth generation persons of Indian origin in Suriname. 2. India's commitment to socio-economic development projects in Suriname, including assistance in establishing an old age home for senior citizens and launching five quick impact projects. 3. Visit of an Indian delegation to Suriname to discuss cooperation in defence and capacity building of Suriname Armed Forces. 4. India's contribution to the development of small and medium scale enterprises in Suriname through the supply of machinery as a grant towards selected specific projects. 5. Organization of the Festival of India in Suriname later this year to coincide with the celebrations to commemorate the 150 years of arrival of Indians in Suriname. Several Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements were signed during the visit, including: 1. An MoU between drug regulators for cooperation in the field of medical product regulation, exchange of good practices, and capacity building. 2. Recognition of Indian pharmacopoeia by Suriname, expected to facilitate the sale of pharma products manufactured by India in Suriname. 3. A joint work plan in agriculture and allied sectors for the period 2023-27 under an existing MoU. 4. Restructuring of buyer's credit extended by India to Suriname. During the visit, President Murmu was conferred with Suriname’s highest civilian honor, Grand Order of the Yellow Star. President Murmu is the fourth recipient of this honor and the first Indian to be conferred this award. Talks between President Murmu and President Santokhi focused on cooperation in various fields, including political, trade and economic, development partnership, and people-to-people ties. Specific areas of cooperation, such as ICT, agriculture, defence, health and pharmaceuticals, and Ayurveda, were also discussed. President Murmu’s visit emphasizes both the goodwill between the two countries and India's rising importance on the world scene. Moreover, it highlights the importance that India accords to its international diaspora. The visit will add fresh momentum and further strengthen India-Suriname bilateral ties, paving the way for future collaboration and mutual support in various sectors.