Trinidad and Tobago, India to have joint commission

By Paras Ramoutar, IANS,

Port-of-Spain : Trinidad and Tobago and India will set up a joint commission in April, the Indian envoy has said here. A Trinidadian minister added that “prospective areas have been identified for exploration, including agriculture, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and petroleum”.

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Speaking at a reception to mark India’s 61st Republic Day Tuesday, Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra said the joint commission will further deepen the bilateral relations between both countries.

Earlier in the day, the Indian tricolour was unfurled after which Indian President Pratibha Patil’s speech was read out by Mishra.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Paula Gopie-Scoon said the wide range of issues to be covered in the joint commission would serve to take the relationship between the two countries to “a qualitatively higher level”.

Gopie-Scoon said: “While relations in trade, culture and technical cooperation have grown, many other prospective areas have been identified for exploration, including agriculture, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, petroleum, natural gas and science and technology.”

The minister said that over the years Trinidad and Tobago has benefited from technical training courses, as well as consultancy services offered by the Indian government under its International Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme.

Her country looks forward to continued cooperation with India, she said.

“The Fatel Rozack (ship) brought not only a new labour force in May 1845 to our shores to assist in the economic development of Trinidad, but also new people with new culture who have made valuable contributions in such spheres as trade, business, education, health, government and sports,” Gopie-Scoon said.

She observed that the country’s High Commissioner to India Pundit Maniedeo Persad was instrumental in arranging the second business-investor mission from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“This mission served to further deepen and broaden relations between our two countries as it coincided with the Manufacturer’s Association Annual Trade and Investment Convention. At the same time, the Indian High Commission hosted an Indo-Caribbean Conclave which brought together captains of industry who explored various prospects including travel and tourism,” she added.

This country’s Indian population forming about 44 percent of the country’s population of 1.3 million people was sourced from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states between 1845 and 1917. Some 145,000 Indians came to work on the sugar plantations.