India- Saint Vincent & the Grenadines Relations
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Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines

Political

Since establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, SVG and India enjoy cordial and friendly relations and interact actively in the U.N., Commonwealth and NAM and various other international fora. It  became independent on 27 October 1979. SVG supported India’s candidature for Non-Permanent seat at UNSC and has also committed support for India’s bid for Permanent Membership of UNSC as part of the L69 group. India has also supported SVG’s non-permanent membership of UNSC. SVG has supported India’s successful candidacies in the elections to International Court of Justice (ICJ), International Tribunal of the Laws of the Seas (ITLOS), Executive Board of UNESCO and International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2018 and continued its support to India’s candidature for WCO,  IMO, WHO and ICAO in 2019 and continued its abiding support to India in 2020.

Dr Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St.  Vincent and the Grenadines met Indian Prime Minister on September 24,2015 in New York on the sidelines of UNGA meeting and extended an invitation to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves to visit India, which he accepted. Shri P.P. Chaudhary Minister of State for Law &Justice and Corporate Affairs visited  St. Vincent and the Grenadines  from April 22-24, 2018 under  MEA’s innovative outreach programme and held bilateral talks with  PM Dr Ralph Gonsalves. On 1st June, 2007, Mr. Vayalar Ravi, the then Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs, attended the first ever celebrations of Indian Arrival Day organized by SVG Indian Heritage Foundation. During his one day visit to St. Vincent& the Grenadines, MOIA also had a meeting with Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

India has handed over a cash donation of US$500,000/- towards assistance in recovery and rehabilitation following flash floods in December, 2013.India had made a cash donation of US$100,000/- towards recovery and rehabilitation following Hurricane Tomas in October 2010 and April 2011 flash floods and landslides. India provided an assistance of US 1.03 million to SVG in 2017 under UNIDO  for modernization of Arrowroot Industry  for  climate change resilience and sustainable  rural livelihoods for indigenous communities.

Prime MinisterDr. Ralph Gonsalves had a highly successful official visit to India on 8-12 September, 2019. During his stay in India, Dr. Gonsalves met Prime Minister Shri Modi and External Affairs Minister. Three MoUs were signed and four MoUs will be signed soon between the two countries. Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves also co-chaired the Session in the COP 14 Conference on Land, Climate and Renewable Energy  held in New Delhi on 9-10 September, 2019. Govt. of India provided as a token of solidarity life saving drugs and protective gear worth US$ 100000 to Govt. and people of St.Vincent and the Grenadines to assist in their fight against Covid 19 pandemic, which were handed over to Govt. of SVG on September 3, 2020. As a gesture of solidarity, GoI donated 40,000 doses of Made in India Covishield vaccine to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on March 1, 2021. Mr. Junior Bacchus was appointed the first Honorary Consul in SVG in August, 2020.

Economic

The trade volume between the two countries are miniscule due to the huge geographical distance. Bilateral exports and imports during fiscal years April-March are as follows:

2016-17         US$ 0.78 million

2017-18         US$ 0.69 million &

2018-19         US$ 0.75 million ((Import: US$ 0.029 & Export: US$ 0.73 million)

2019-20        US$ 0.69 million (import: US$0 & Export: US$ .69 million)

Top Export items from India to SVG are : pharmaceutical projects, plastic and articles thereof, articles of iron or steel, paper and paperboard, articles of paper pulp, of paper or of paperboard, misc manufactured articles. Details of import items are not available in the system of either India or SVG

Culture

A cultural troupe from ICCR had visited the Island and performed at Indian Arrival Day of St. Vincent in 2011. The Queens Baton for Commonwealth Games also toured the Island in March, 2010.An ICCR-sponsored six member Rajasthani folk group led by Gazi Khan visited SVG on 22nd February, 2019 and  held performance in Kingstown. The event was attended by PM Ralph Gonsalves and several other  dignitaries. 5th edition of International Day of Yoga was celebrated at Kingstown Cruise Terminal, Kingstown, SVG on June 23, 2019 in association with SVG Indian Heritage Foundation.  Minister of Transport, Works, Urban Development, and Local Government Hon’ble Julian Francis was the Guest of Honour. Mission sent a cultural troupe from Suriname to participate in SVG Indian arrival day on June 1, 2019.

India has provided 5 ITEC slots to St. Vincent and the Grenadines for the year 2019-20.Two Foreign Service officials Affairs participated in the PCFD/CARICOM special diplomatic training programme at Foreign Service Institute in New Delhi in 2017, one in PCFD, 2019 and three under special training programme for CariCom Diplomats in June, 2019.Two senior-level customs officials participated in the India-Caricom special training programme in customs and taxes held in India on 10-14 June, 2019 under ITEC.

Indian Community

There are about 7700 persons of Indian origin residing in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and 50 NRIs including Doctors, professionals, medical students. The PIOs had come to SVG  in the 19th century as indentured labourers. Most of these PIOs have got completely assimilated in the mainstream local society  and know very little about India, their forefathers and culture. Between 1861 and 1880, 8 ships arrived from India bringing a total of 2474 Indians, living on 23 estates.

PIOs in the Island established the St. Vincent & the Grenadines Indian Heritage Foundation in October, 2006 with an aim to revive and promote cultural and social links with India. SVG Indian Heritage Foundation has since been quite active and doing a good job to promote Indian soft power. Ist June has been declared as Indian Arrival Day in St. Vincent whereas 7th October has been declared as Indian Heritage Day. There are a few PIOs&Sindhi  businessmen doing trading with India.

Reference books: St. Vincent and the Grenaidnes by Lesley Sutty; Islands of Eden: St.Vincent and the Grenadines by FerencMáté; Mr. Landsown Guildingbest known for his works on the flora and fauna of St Vincent in particular; People on the Move: The Effects of Some Important Historical Events on the People of St. Vincent and the Grenadinesby Dr. Edgar Adams; Diary of a Prime Minister: Ten days among Benedictine Monks by Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and The Making of 'the Comrade': The Political Journey of Ralph Gonsalves.

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