Jamaica and India should forge closer ties in education, business - Kovind
President of the Republic of India, Ram Nath Kovind addressing Parliament on Tuesday. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — President of the Republic of India, Ram Nath Kovind, has pointed to education and business as areas of possible collaboration between his country and Jamaica.

Kovind, who was addressing a special joint sitting of the Jamaican Parliament Tuesday morning, also pointed to sports, tourism and entertainment where both countries could work together.

Regarding education, Kovind said that India, under its National Education Policy, was planning to start new Indian Institutes of Technology abroad.

“I am happy that Jamaica is one of the first countries to express interest in hosting an Indian Institute of Technology,” he told the special sitting of the Parliament. He also stated that India’s national education policy has opened up specialised, technical courses in premier Indian colleges and universities for foreign students.

“Jamaican students should take advantage of this opportunity by studying at some of the best institutions, respected globally (and) charging only a fraction of the cost compared to Western institutions,” he said.

Kovind is on a four-day state visit to Jamaica as part of celebrations to mark the country’s 60th anniversary of independence.

He said Jamaica’s geographic location in close proximity to some of the largest global economies (United States and Canada) and its “talented pool of English-speaking youth provide it with an excellent opportunity to become a knowledge highway and benefit from the fourth industrial revolution”.

Kovind noted that some of Jamaica’s top businesses already source software from India and benefit from technical support as well. He said both countries are already cooperating under the international solar alliance for reducing carbon footprint.

“There’s also great potential for partnering in the railway and agriculture sectors...” he added.

On a lighter note, Kovind, who is head of state of a country with a population of 1.4 billion people, noted that Jamaica has less than three million people.

“It is amazing to see Jamaica’s dominance in athletics at the Olympics, World Championships and other premier sporting events,” he said.

“Sometimes we feel jealous of you,” he added to laughter.

Meanwhile, Kovind said India will look to Jamaica for help in the area of sport, particularly athletics. He said both countries would benefit from cooperating in the areas of music, entertainment, tourism and hospitality.

The president said India shares Jamaica’s Vision 2030 goals of empowering its people and ensuring a single, cohesive and just society by becoming a prosperous and sustainable economy. He said India stands ready to partner with Jamaica and share its technical skills, knowledge and expertise which could transform Jamaica’s education and businesses.

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