THE President of India Ram Nath Kovind along with his wife Savita are officially in Jamaica in an effort to strengthen diplomatic ties between both countries.
The aeroplane carrying the couple landed at the Norman Manley International Airport at precisely 4:06 pm on Sunday to the sound of a 21-gun salute from the Jamaica Defence Force.
Kovind is paying a State visit to Jamaica and St Vincent and Grenadines from May 15 to May 21, the first visit by an Indian head of State to these Caribbean countries. He will be in Jamaica until May 18.
In a statement pending his arrival, India’s Ministry of External Affairs said, “Jamaica and India have friendly relations. Jamaica is also one of the Girmitya countries with a 70,000 strong Indian Diaspora who act as a living bridge with India.”
“The visit comes at a significant milestone as 2022 is the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Jamaica. Furthermore, India and Jamaica are celebrating [the] 75th and 60th anniversary of their independence, respectively,” the statement added.
During his visit, Kovind is expected to hold “delegation-level talks” with the Governor General Sir Patrick Allen. He will also meet Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other dignitaries and will address the joint sitting of the two Houses of Jamaican Parliament.
As he exited the aeroplane, he was greeted by Holness, Allen, Chief of State Protocol Ambassador Sandra Grant Griffiths, India’s High Commissioner to Jamaica Rungsung Masakui and Chief of Defence Staff Rear Admiral Antonette Weymss-Gorman.
After being greeted, Savita was escorted by the prime minister and ambassador to the other government officials and dignitaries for introductions. These include Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith, Opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs Lisa Hanna, Senator Tom Tavares-Finson, among others. The president was then escorted by Weymss-Gorman for the ceremonial inspection of the troops, during which the national anthem was played.