Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi on January 8 said that his country was ready to take first steps in scrapping the visa permits for the Indians to promote ‘free travel’ between the two nations. The measure aimed to strengthen bilateral ties between Suriname and India. Speaking at the virtual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention organised by India on January 9 to commemorate the day that Mahatma Gandhi arrived in India, the Suriname leader of Indian origin gave a speech at the external affairs ministry’s flagship event to enhance close cooperation between the overseas Indians and the homeland country.
In an address that he delivered in Bhojpuri dialect, Surimane’s President said, “Suriname is prepared to take the first step in doing so by ending visa permits for visitors from India to Suriname.” He added that the Suriname diaspora is an integral part of India’s soft power and vice versa India was also an important part of Suriname’s soft power. He said that the free movement between the two nations without the hassles of visa issuance would enable prosperity in key areas of opportunities such as education, information technology, and science. “The importance of the Indian diaspora can and must be one of the mutual benefits. If we approach the opportunities in this way, we can achieve great things for our countries,” Santokhi said. “In this interconnected world we all live in, we value international relationships based on respect and mutual benefits,” he added.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas— India in Sweden & Latvia (@IndiainSweden) January 9, 2021
16th PBD Convention
9 January 2021
Inaugurated by PM @narendramodi
Chief Guest President of Suriname
H.E. Mr. Chandrikapersad Santokhi
Rapid strides being made by India
and Indian Diaspora including during
Covid19 pandemic#PBD2021 pic.twitter.com/2wE634km6E
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier congratulated Suriname President Chandrika Prasad Santokhi as he said on ‘Mann Ki Baat’ that it was 'a matter of pride' for Indians that Suriname’s President took the oath of office holding the Vedas. Santoshi had repeated the Sanskrit verses chanted by the priest and had concluded his oath with 'Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti’ as he took his oath last year. In his statements that went on air, PM Modi praised the gesture and said that India has “a very close relationship” with Suriname. PM Modi said, “More than a hundred years ago, people from India went there and made it their home. Today, the fourth or fifth generation is there. Today in Suriname, more than one-fourth of the people are of Indian origin. 'Sarnami' one of the common languages there is a dialect of Bhojpuri. We Indians feel very proud of these cultural relations.”