Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar addressing a press conference, at the G20 meeting in New Delhi, India, 02 March 2023. EFE-EPA FILE/HARISH TYAGI

India’s FM gets warm welcome on 1st leg of Latin America, Caribbean tour

Georgetown, Apr 21 (EFE).- India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar arrived in Guyana’s capital early Friday on the first leg of his 10-day trip to Latin America and Caribbean nations.

Jaishankar tweeted that his Guyana counterpart, Hugh Todd, gave him “a warm reception” as he landed in Georgetown.

“Look forward to a productive visit,” he added.

The Indian minister will be in Guyana until Sunday before traveling to Panama.

He will also visit Colombia and the Dominican Republic on his first visit to the region.

The extensive tour to Latin America and the Caribbean comes as India is trying to emerge as a leader of the Global South.

The last Indian foreign minister to visit the region was Yashwant Sinha, who went to Brazil in 2003.

“The external affairs minister’s visit to these four countries; his bilateral engagements as well as interactions with counterparts of important regional groups (…) adds to the momentum of the India-LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean),” the Indian government said in a press statement.

Hari Seshasayee, a fellow at a New Delhi-based think tank, Observer Research Foundation, said India’s timing for getting in good with the region could not be any better.

“India and Latin America have become more economically relevant to each other in recent years. Trade was at an all-time high of $50 billion in 2022,” Seshasayee wrote in a note on the visit.

In Georgetown, Jaishankar will meet Guyanese government officials and co-chair a joint commission meeting with his counterpart, Hugh Todd.

He will also use this opportunity to meet ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) during a meeting of the 15-member Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR).

In Panama, the head of India’s diplomacy will meet top government officials with his Panamanian counterpart, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo.

He will also hold discussions with representatives of the 8-nation Central American Integration System (SICA).

During his visit to Colombia – the first-ever by an Indian foreign minister – Jaishankar will meet government, business and civil society representatives.

India, which holds the rotating G20 presidency this year, has sought to emerge as a global leader amid relative stability and a positive economic outlook. EFE