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India President Kovind visits Jamaica

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India President Kovind visits Jamaica

India President Kovind begins a visit to Jamaica
India President Kovind begins a visit to Jamaica
India President Kovind visits Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines starting from today – Photo: NewsOnAIR

India President Ram Nath Kovind begins a week-long Caribbean tour in Jamaica today.

Kovind’s Jamaican visit will see him meet with Jamaican counterpart, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Prime Minister Andrew Holness, before addressing a joint sitting of Jamaica’s parliament. In so doing, he will mark 60 years of bilateral relations with a shared colonial heritage.

The first-ever visit of an Indian Head of State signals the importance New Delhi has placed on engaging small developing states like Jamaica for international support. In this case, Jamaica supports India’s long-held quest for a permanent UN Security Council seat. India is currently in the final year of its eighth two-year term as a non-permanent security council member.

Of more immediate intrigue, however, is India signaling support last week for Jamaica’s late bid for the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of former British colonial and aligned states—a position which is voted on in June. Kovind’s trip will almost certainly strengthen Jamaica’s Kamina Smith’s candidacy against the deeply unpopular but heretofore uncontested incumbent Patricia Scotland. In return, India expects greater influence in the Commonwealth to balance the traditional heavyweights—Australia, Britain and Canada—but also further cement commonwealth support for India’s UN Security Council aspirations.

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Photo: Ahn Young-joon/AP

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