MoS MEA to visit Guatemala, Jamaica, Bahamas next week

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New Delhi, Jul 3 (PTI) Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will be on a six-day visit next week to Guatemala, Jamaica and the Bahamas during which he will hold talks with the top leadership of those countries to boost bilateral ties.

The minister will be paying an official visit to these countries from July 5-10, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

This will be Muraleedharan's first visit to Guatemala, Jamaica and the Bahamas as minister of state and during the visit, he will call on the top leadership and meet with foreign ministers of these countries, according to the MEA.

Muraleedharan's visit to Guatemala (July 5-6) will follow up on the visit in May 2018 of Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. During the visit, Muraleedharan will meet the Guatemalan minister of economy and will interact with the business community, including the heads of chambers of commerce and industry of Guatemala with a view to enhance bilateral trade, currently at USD 309.86 million, and boost investments. The minister will also interact with the Indian community in Guatemala which is the current Pro-tempore President of the Central American Integration system (SICA) with which India has an established engagement mechanism.

Muraleedharan will next visit Jamaica from July 7-8 and it will be the first visit by an Indian minister to Jamaica in four years, the MEA said.

In addition to his official engagements, Muraleedharan will inaugurate the bust of Mahatma Gandhi at May Pen city and visit the Old Harbour Bay where the first Indians landed in Jamaica 175 years ago. He will also interact with a wide cross-section of the Jamaican society comprising business leaders and Indian community members, the MEA said.

The minister will also visit the Bahamas (July 9-10) and it will be the first standalone high-level visit from India to this Caribbean island. In addition to his official meetings, Muraleedharan will interact with the Bahamian society comprising business leaders and Indian community members.

India's relations with Jamaica and Bahamas have been cordial and based on democracy, membership of the Commonwealth, English language and cultural heritage. They also support each other's candidatures at various multilateral fora.

The visit of the minister will provide an opportunity for reviewing the progress in bilateral ties and further strengthening of the country's multi-faceted relationship with all the three countries, including in SICA and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the statement said. PTI ASK ANB ANB ANB

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