Address by President at State Banquet hosted by the President of Suriname

June 06, 2023

Your Excellency Mr. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname,
Madam First Lady,
Hon'ble Ministers and Members of the Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1.It is a great pleasure for me and my delegation to be in your beautiful country. We are touched by the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to us by the Government and the people of Suriname. I take this opportunity to convey heartfelt affection and greetings from more than 1.4 billion people of India, to the friendly people of Suriname.

2.Excellency, we fondly remember your visit to India in January this year and your participation at the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas as a Special Guest of Honour. During the visit you had mentioned the commemoration of 150th anniversary of arrival of Indians in Suriname. Today is indeed a significant milestone, not only in Suriname’s history, but also for India-Suriname relations.

3.As we gather here to celebrate the everlasting bonds of friendship between our two countries and peoples, we honor those courageous and determined pioneers who built Suriname.

4.India – Suriname partnership is grounded in our common historical experience of colonialism. Our relations have evolved over a period of time and have stood the test of time.

5.It was an honour for me to pay my respects at the Baba and Mai and the Mama Sranan monuments this morning. These two monuments represent two very important aspects of Suriname: The struggles and courage of the Indian ancestors who arrived here 150 years ago, and its diverse and inclusive spirit.

6.In the global arena, this also epitomizes India’s approach: an inclusive world order that is sensitive to legitimate interests and concerns of every country and region.

7.It is in this spirit of solidarity that India extended a helping hand to more than 100 countries during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

8.Excellency, this year, as you know, India holds the presidency of the G-20, through which we are building stronger bridges with both developing countries and advanced economies. In order to provide greater voice to the issues of interest to developing countries and Global South, we also organised the Voice of South Summit in January this year, with the participation of 125 countries from Global South. Thank you, Excellency, for being part of this initiative. We deeply value your support and contribution to the success of the Summit.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

9.Suriname has been home to our Indian brothers and sisters and their descendants, over the last 150 years. I am happy to see that our societies are well integrated with a strong connect to our common heritage, traditions and culture. It is matter of pride that in addition to the Hindi language, Kathak, Yoga and Indian classical music are gaining popularity in Suriname and Indian festivals like Deepavali, Holi/Phagwa are celebrated with full zeal and enthusiasm by all the citizens of Suriname.

10.I am convinced that our discussions today will give additional momentum to our expanding partnership across various sectors.

11.On this optimistic note, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in wishing:

- Health and happiness of the President and the First Lady of Suriname;

- Continued progress and prosperity of the people Suriname;

Enduring and everlasting friendship between the Republic of Suriname and the Republic of India.


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