CARICOM-India Joint Press Statement
The Second India – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ministerial Meeting was held in New York on September 30, 2015 in the margins of the 70th session of the UNGA. The Minister of External Affairs, Ms. Sushma Swaraj, led the Indian delegation and the Hon. Alva Baptiste, Minister External Affairs, Trade and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia, led the CARICOM delegation. The meeting was attended by all CARICOM Member countries.
It was recalled that the inaugural meeting of the Joint Commission between India and the CARICOM took place in June 2015 in Georgetown, Guyana, at the level of Vice-Ministers. These two meetings, convened within a short time span of less than six months, underscore the importance both sides accord to India-CARICOM relations.
In her statement, Minister Sushma Swaraj referred to the historical and multifaceted ties between the two sides. In his reply, Minister Alva Baptiste expressed CARICOM’s satisfaction with India’s contribution to the development of CARICOM countries.
The meeting’s discussions focused on further strengthening India-CARICOM bilateral relations, through cooperation in capacity building; promotion of business and trade; enhancement of people to people contact, with particular emphasis on training of Young Diplomats of CARICOM; training in project management, information technology, agri-business, health, disaster management, animal husbandry and dairying; the holding of business events and cultural festivals; and facilitation of visas.
Views were also exchanged on regional and multilateral issues such as climate change, sustainable development and financing for development. In this regard, both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the recently adopted Addis Ababa Action Agenda and Agenda 2030, and expressed their expectations for a successful outcome of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention to take place in Paris in December 2015. They underscored the importance of maintaining solidarity between developing countries in this and other multilateral fora. The CARICOM side emphasized the importance of these issues to the development and survival of the region and requested India’s cooperation in the context of this multilateral agenda and the emphasis CARICOM places on SIDS priorities.
The CARICOM side expressed appreciation also for India’s continued contribution to capacity building within the region through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme. Both sides agreed that the existing levels of trade are much below potential. In this regard, the CARICOM side welcomed India’s proposal to hold a trade promotion event next year within the region.
Additionally, the meeting reiterated its support for the need to reform the United Nations, particularly the expansion of the UN Security Council. The Indian side conveyed particular appreciation for the invaluable role played by Ambassador Courtenay Rattray of Jamaica as the Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform. Both sides agreed to work together for early commencement of negotiations consistent with UN General Assembly resolution 69/560.
Both sides agreed to meet on a regular basis to continue this important dialogue and their mutual cooperation over agreed areas of cooperation.