INDIA SURINAME RELATIONS
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Context: The President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu met His Excellency Mr Chandrikapersad Santokhi, the President of the Republic of Suriname at Indore, Madhya Pradesh
- Suriname is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in June 2023 and wished the celebrations every success.
- Hindi is widely spoken in Suriname.
- India enjoys close, warm and friendly relations with Suriname, reinforced by cultural and people-to-people contacts bridged by Indian Diaspora's arrival dating back to 146 years.
- Several high-level visits have been exchanged since the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Suriname in 1976 with the Indian Embassy opened in Paramaribo in 1977 and the Surinamese Embassy in New Delhi in 2000.
- Trade and economic links between India and Suriname are modest.
- Indian export to Suriname consists of boilers, machinery, iron & steel, electrical machinery & equipment, sound recorders, pharmaceutical products, textiles, vehicles, coffee, tea and spices, rubber, paper, tobacco, organic chemicals, furniture, carpets, ceramic products, footwear and printed books; Indian import consists of wood, aluminium, textiles, herbal products, garments, spices, and electrical machinery
- Exports to India in 2018-19 US$: 111.94 million, Imports from India 2018-19: US 1.34 million
- There is potential for Indian companies to trade and invest in MSME in Agriculture & Food processing sector, Gold, Oil, Bauxite, Kaolin, Solar Energy, Hydro, Pharmaceuticals, Ayush/traditional medicine, Innovative technology, Tourism and IT.
- Indian Cultural Centre in Suriname was opened in 1978 and pursued soft-power diplomacy initiatives including Hindi language, Kathak, Yoga and classical music.
- India provides a yearly grant worth US 29500/- for the promotion of Hindi in Suriname through the Suriname Hindi Parishad.
- Indian diaspora, which currently constitutes 27% of Suriname’s population of about 5.68 lakhs (and some 50 Sindhi families), arrived in Suriname 146 years agonever disconnected themselves with their roots.
- Suriname has also the distinction of the most prominent foreign country in the world in the field of promotion of Hindi language.
- There are currently 14 sitting PIO Members of Parliament, five PIO Ministers, the Vice President of Suriname and the Governor of the Central Bank are also PIOs.
- The electronic travel authorisation system (eTVA) for Suriname has been implemented and vice versa.
- Both India and Suriname have implemented the MoU on the waiver of visa for official and diplomatic passport holders.
- Under ITEC programme, over 400 Surinamese have benefited and over 100 have under Know India Programme so far.