Guyana Is Very Interested In India’s Renewable Energy Capabilities, Says High Commissioner Of Guyana To India
Vice President and Foreign minister of the Republic of Guyana Carl B Greenidge is in India for his first state visit today. Greenidge is on a five-day visit along with a high-level delegation which includes and includes Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman. During the State visit, which is scheduled for January 29 to February 2, they will be attending the Guyana-India Joint Commission and the Inter-Ministerial Consultations.
This visit is touted to set a policy framework for medium to long-term cooperation between the two countries. This is the first time the two countries are going to have discussions on matters of bilateral co-operation in a one on one sit down format, post the change in Guyana's political administration rather than meeting on the sidelines of some other event.
As per the data from MEA (Ministry Of External Affairs) Bilateral trade between India and Guyana was US$ 34.71 m for 2014-15 (compared to US$ 31.47m for 2013-14)
In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld David Pollard, High Commissioner of Guyana to India talks about what this visit means for business development and trade between the two counties.
What is the purpose of the first state visit of the Vice President of Guyana to India?
I think the visit is a very important moment in the recalibrations of Relations between India and Guyana. This is the first high-level visit of a Ministerial visit from Guyana in a one on one sit down format rather than on sidelines of some other event. I am hoping that by having it hosted in India, where there is so much change going on, it will provide a good background for an estimation of a relationship between India-Guyana. This visit is more about updating the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Can you map out three expectations you have from the visit?
We have signed an MOU on cooperation in renewable energy and one on Cultural Exchange. There is a lot of Indian Diaspora around 40 percent in Guyana. The MoU on culture will help to build on that. In terms of more direct business activities, Guyana is very interested in India’s renewable energy capabilities. The Solar Energy industry in India, in particular, has shown its capable of winning big contracts abroad. Guyana is committed to a green Development strategy, which means we will be looking through to a lot of energy through renewable energy sources. Guyana has recently discovered a large amount of oil, which will go into production in 2020. I am sure there will be a discussion on that and about Indian requirements and capabilities in that area.
Will the delegation propose any talks on improving air transport, maritime connect or on enhancing educational and tourism ties?
In terms of the MoU’s that we have currently slated, some of those areas aren’t currently covered. There is interest in tourism, it may not be the kind of thing that requires a MoU. It can be a matter of helping private sector initiatives. There are already a couple of things in the pipeline, on which we are working which define the business relations between India-Guyana at the moment.
What are the roadblocks to having stronger bilateral ties between the two countries at the moment?
The biggest would be air transport, it takes about a day and a half to travel from India to Guyana. There is also a lack of awareness between what the two countries represent. India has been running a know India programme for all the Diaspora countries that certainly helps. But I think in terms of Indian knowledge of Guyana, even some of the basic facts like the Indo-Guyanese population in Guyana is a bit of a problem.
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