The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind addressed the Joint Sitting of both Houses of Parliament of Jamaica in Kingston yesterday (May 17, 2022).
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that as a representative of the world’s largest democracy, it is indeed an honour for him to address the august gathering of the leaders of the vibrant democracy of Jamaica. He said it is not only the Indian diaspora and cultural bonds that bring our two countries together, our belief in democracy and liberty also binds us together. The idea that all citizens are created equal is a central pillar of the Jamaican Constitution. Our founding fathers too shared the same belief and sought individual liberty for every citizen of India. They created a modern nation with freedom, democracy, and equality as its soul. And in doing so, they ensured that we continued to celebrate ‘Unity in Diversity’, which is so similar to Jamaica’s motto of ‘Out of many, one People’.
The President said that with ample natural resources, strategic location, young population and dynamic leadership, Jamaica is poised for even greater economic success. Its leadership in the CARICOM region, international rules-based behaviour and the desire to shoulder greater responsibility make it a partner of choice for other countries.
The President said that Jamaica’s strategic position in the vicinity of some of the largest global economies, 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. India shares Jamaica’s Vision 2030 goals of empowering its people and ensuring a secure, cohesive, and just society, while becoming a prosperous and sustainable economy.
The President said that India is ready to partner with Jamaica and share its technical skills, knowledge and expertise which could transform Jamaica’s education and businesses. He noted that top Jamaican businesses already take software and backroom technical support from technology companies based in India. India and Jamaica are cooperating under the International Solar Alliance for creating a lighter carbon footprint. There is also great potential for partnering in the railways and the agriculture sectors, which are among India’s strengths, he added.
The President said that for a country with less than 3 million people, it is amazing to see how Jamaica exerts its dominance in athletics at the Olympics, World Championships, and other premier sporting events. India is willing to learn lessons in sports and athletics from Jamaica. He said that in music and entertainment, cross-pollination would enrich the entertainment industries in both countries. Also, in hospitality and tourism, there is a great scope for cooperation and learning from each other.
The President expressed confidence that our convergences and complementarities would be mutually beneficial. He said that we should continue to work together to convert our shared ideals into practical cooperation and to create a more equitable world order. He said that the India-Jamaica partnership would not just lead to building a bright future for our people but would also act as a bridge to a more united, humane, and prosperous world.
Yesterday evening (May 17, 2022), the President attended a banquet hosted by Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen of Jamaica. In his banquet speech, the President thanked Sir Patrick Allen for the warm welcome extended to him on his first state visit to Jamaica. He said that Jamaica has a very special place in India and among our people. Names of cricket icons like George Headley, Michael Holding and Chris Gayle are admired by generations of cricket lovers in India. The greatness of Usain Bolt is well known to Indian sports lovers.
The President said that trade and economic cooperation are vital pillars of India-Jamaica friendship. We see our economies complementing each other, not just for trade, but also to transform our economies through the digital revolution. He said that we must get our young minds to work jointly in several fields like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Jamaican traditional medicine and Ayurveda, and in building together a climate-smart world. We must capture their imagination and energy to build a society that is prosperous, progressive and peaceful, he added.
Today (May 18, 2022), the President will leave for the second leg of his state visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.