President Ali, Indian PM Modi in ‘comprehensive’ talks on energy, other issues

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President Irfaan Ali and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have held “comprehensive discussions” on a range of issues as the Guyanese leader continues an official visit to India.

“The two leaders held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of issues including cooperation in energy, infrastructure development, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, technology and innovation, and defence cooperation. Both leaders recalled the 180 year old historical bonds of friendship between the people of India and Guyana and agreed to deepen them further,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement following the talks between President Ali and Prime Minister Modi on Monday.

The Indian government had previously expressed interest in buying all of Guyana’s share of oil from the Stabroek Block, the giant oil reserve operated by ExxonMobil.

President Ali is in India for the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Indore, India. It’s a gathering of Indian leaders from across the world. President Ali is the chief guest and will be conferred with the highest award the government gives to Indian overseas. The President is currently in Indore and will also visit Delhi, Kanpur, Bangalore and Mumbai.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali (left) embraces India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (centre). Also in photo is Surinamese President Chandrikapersad Santokhi (Photo: News Room/ January 9, 2023)

While speaking at the inauguration of the Convention, the President talked up Guyana’s high growth over the past few years and believes that the Indian government and private sector can help the country develop key sectors.

President Ali said that Guyana hopes to become a global leader in energy security, climate security, food security and other key sectors.

And as the country pursues these efforts, he believes that support from strategic bilateral partners is crucial.

President Dr. Irfaan Ali (left) meets with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Photo: Latchman Singh/ Office of the President/ January 9, 2023)

It is for this reason President Ali and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held bilateral discussions after the inauguration of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention.

Prime Minister Modi, according to a release from India’s External Affairs Ministry, expressed his delight and appreciation to President Ali for accepting the invitation to receive the Pravasi Bharatiya DIvas Award.

Arising out of the discussions, the two leaders agreed to establish working groups to advance the assessment of Guyana’s needs and the levels of cooperation to ensue.

To advance cooperation between the two countries, President Ali invited Prime Minister Modi to Guyana this year.

Beyond government to government cooperation, President Ali also said that private sector support is crucial.

“The economic opportunity, growth and potential of Guyaan is open to the entire private sector of India,” he said at the convention.

Already, many Indian companies are investing in Guyana. The Indian-based Ashoka Construction Company, which is executing the much-needed Ogle to Eccles road project, is one company engaging a large project locally.

In coming days, President Ali will hold bilateral discussions with Indian President Droupadi Murmu and attend the Valedictory Session and Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award Ceremony on 10 January 2023 where he is set to be conferred with a prestigious award.

He will also participate in the Global Investors Summit 2023 in Indore on 11 January.

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