India-Suriname Relations
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Suriname

Political

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 148 years.  Several high level visits have been exchanged since establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Suriname in 1976 with Indian Embassy opened in Paramaribo in 1977 and Surinamese Embassy in New Delhi in 2000.

The former Vice President of Suriname H.E Ashwin Adhin, during his private visit to India in March 2016,  called on  the Hon’ble Prime Minister on March 11, 2016 and discussed bilateral issues including issues of mutual interest. In January 2017, VP Adhin was invited as the special guest in the Youth Pravasi Bharitya Divas, held in Bengaluru during January 06-09, 2017.  During his visit he met Prime Minister on January 08 2017 on the side-lines of PBD Conference and held meetings with the Ministers of AYUSH and the Road Transport and Shipping. Besides those high profile meetings, he also met business entities to explore    business opportunities and collaboration in the areas of Ayurveda, medicinal plants and contract farming.    Minister of State, Gen (Retd) V.K.Singh visited Paramaribo on April 28, 2017 in connection with sixth Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and Suriname and held  bilateral meetings with the President, Vice President and Foreign Minister of Suriname.

Hon’ble President of India paid a historic state visit to Suriname from June 19-21, 2018 at the invitation of the President of the Republic of Suriname with a high level delegation comprising Mr. Vishnu Deo Sai, Minister of State for Steel. Five MOUs were signed in the areas of Centre of Excellence in ICT, Cooperation between the Electoral authorities, National Archives, Cooperation between diplomatic Institutes and Remunerative employment of dependents of the diplomatic personnel of the two countries.  The two LOC agreements on EBS transmission line for US$ 27.5mn and maintenance of Chetak helicopters for US$ 3.5 mn  were also signed during the visit. An LOC of US$ 20 mn for ISA project towards rural electrification of  50 villages of Suriname was also announced. India had earlier provided four Credit lines worth US$ 57 million to Suriname to set up water pumps, power transmission lines, Crash Fire Tenders and coastal equipment.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu met with Vice President of Suriname Mr. Ashwin Adhin  on September 09, 2018 on the margins of World Hindu Congress in Chicago  and  discussed  bilateral relations including  trade, investment, developmental cooperation and people to people contacts between the two countries. EAM held a bilateral meeting with Ms Yldiz Pollack Beighle, Foreign Minister of Suriname on the sidelines of 73rd UNGA in New York on September 26, 2018. Nine PIOs Members of Parliament from Suriname across the party lines participated in the first-ever  PIO Parliamentarian Conference held in New Delhi on January 09, 2018.

President Santokhi, a Person of Indian Origin, was elected President of the Republic of Suriname in July, 2020.  President Chandrikapersad Santokhi was the Chief Guest at PBD Convention 2021 held on January 9. He was also conferred with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman in public service on the occasion.  

Two small grant projects for Community development and women entrepreneurship were announced during the visit of the President of India namely Craft Market in Paramaribo for US$ 175602 and every student a computer for US$ 109800 and executed. The first lady of India donated US$ 10,000 to Mytyl School as charity. Govt of India provided a cash assistance of US $ 50000/- to the Government of Suriname for flood victims of the interiors in 2018. Earlier in 2017, General (Dr) V.K. Singh handed over a cheque of US$150,000 to the Government of Suriname as humanitarian assistance for the rehabilitation of the victims of flooding in Suriname.  A grant of US$ 29,988/- has been provided to the Surinamese government for school going children community development project in August, 2017. In 2015, Under Grant in Aid for LAC, the Ministry of External Affairs sanctioned a grant of US$ 3,11,567.21 for upgrading of the s'Lands Hospital morgue in Paramaribo. Also a sum of   US$ 1, 69,400/- was  made available  as an assistance to the Institute for Natural Resources and Engineering Studies (NATIN) of Suriname. The construction of a new multi functional soccer stadium in Paramaribo under LoC of US$30 mn was approved by GoI in March, 2021. The MOU on AYUSH Cooperation has been signed with Govt. of Suriname on January 23, 2020 in Paramaribo.  National Ayurveda Day is celebrated in Suriname. Govt. of India provided as a token of solidarity life saving drugs and protective gear worth US$ 100000 to Govt. of Suriname to assist in its fight against Covid 19 pandemic handed over to the President of the Republic of Suriname on July 22, 2020. As a gesture of solidarity, GoI donated 50000 doses of Made in India Covishield vaccine to Suriname on March 2, 2021

Economy

Trade and economic links between India and Suriname remain 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
2016-17 US$ 45.92 million
2017-18 US $ 92.76 million
2018-19 US$ 111.94 million
2019-20 US$ 55.07 million

 

Imports from India
2016-17 US$ 10.59 million
2017-18 US$ 17.38 million
2018-19 US$ 1.34 million
2019-20 US$ 31.12 million

Former Finance Minister of Suriname Gillmore Hoefdraad visited Mumbai from September 19-21, 2017 on a working visit; Agriculture Minister of Suriname Mr. Lekhram Soerdjan held a bilateral meeting with his counterpart Shri Radha Mohan Singh on October 04, 2018 in New Delhi on the sidelines of ISA Conference and a high level delegation from Suriname led by Minister Regilio Dodson of Natural Resources (NH)  participated in the  Petrotech 2019  from February 10-12 organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Suriname became signatory of the ISA as per its revised mandate.

An Agreement to set up a Joint Commission was signed in September 1992 and seven JCMs have been held so far.  7th Joint Commission Meeting was held virtually on December 2, 2020. Approval of the MoU on Health and Medicine, which will further help widen cooperation and collaboration in the Health sector and Cultural Exchange Program were the highlights of the 7nth JCM.

There is potential for Indian companies to trade and invest in MSME in Agriculture & Food processing sector, Gold, Oil, Bauxite, Kaolin, Solar Energy, Health, Hydro, Pharmaceuticals, Ayush/traditional medicine, Innovative technology, Tourism and IT. There are a few Indian companies doing mostly trading in Suriname.  

Culture

Indian Cultural Centre in Suriname was opened in 1978 and pursues soft-power diplomacy initiatives including Hindi language, Kathak, Yoga and classical music. India provided yearly grant worth US 29500/- for promotion of Hindi in Suriname through Suriname Hindi Parishad.

A 12- member ICCR-sponsored Bhangra Group performed on November 26& 27, 2017  on the occasion of Deepavali and Independence Day of Suriname and a four member musical group led by   Radhika Chopra sponsored by ICCR during the period May 27-June 07, 2018 participated in the 145th anniversary of the Indian arrival in Suriname. A Ramlila group from  Ayodhya Research Institute visited Paramaribo in July-August 2018 and  held several performances across Suriname;

During 2019 so far, an ICCR sponsored  six member Rajasthani  folk group led by Gazi  Khan  visited Suriname from February 16-20; an  eight-member Qawwali group led by Mohammad Ahmad Warsi  visited Suriname  from March 17-22, 2019 on the occasion of Holi/Phagwa festival and  held several performances; a Ramlila Group from Suriname participated in the  “Kumbh Mela 2019  sponsored by  the Ayodhya Research Institute.   

Suriname celebrated National Ayurveda Day on October 16, 2017, a Congress on “Traditional systems of Medicine’ was organised in Paramaribo with the collaboration of Government of India. Dr. B.R.Patel, AYUSH expert from India was the keynote speaker in the Congress. Dr. A. Raghu, Joint Advisor visited Paramaribo from December 02-04, 2018 to take part in the National Ayurveda Day in Suriname and conducted various workshops and meetings along with Ambassador to promote Ayurveda and AYUSH cooperation with Suriname. An MoU on Traditional Systems of Medicine has been signed. IDY is widely celebrated in Suriname.

Indian community

We are proud of the fact that in spite of the vast geographical distance, different time zones and cultural differences between their adopted countries and their country of origin, the Indian diaspora, which currently  constitutes 27.4% of Suriname’s population of about 5.68 lakhs (and some 50 Sindhi families), arrived in Suriname 148 years ago never disconnected themselves with their roots. While fully assimilating with the local culture, they continued to cherish, uphold and pass down from one generation to another their traditions, rites and rituals, cuisine, language, folklore etc. and have made significant contribution in all spheres to the sustainable development of Suriname.  It is gratifying to note that 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 15 sitting PIO Members of Parliament in the current National Assembly. The electronic travel authorisation system (eTVA)  for Suriname   has  been  implemented and vice versa. Both India and Suriname have implemented the MoU on waiver of visa for official, diplomatic and service passport holders. Under ITEC programme, over 500 Surinamese have benefited and over 150 under Know India Programme and Special Know India Programme. Besides, 25 Surinamese diplomats have participated in PCFD conducted by SSIFS, 25 in Hindi Sansthan, Agra and a few under ICCR and AYUSH scholarships.  

Reference Books: Suriname Discovered by Toon Fey; the History of Suriname by Hans Buddingh, Suriname in the long 20th century by Hoefte, take me back Suriname by Astrid Roemer, ‘Hoe duur was de suiker?’ (The Cost of Sugar), ‘It happened at Marienburg, Suriname’, by Cynthia McLeod, ‘Sarnami Hai or “Suriname I am” by Beatrice Sylvia Vianen.

Address: Embassy of India, Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 239,
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