“Our countries and peoples share goals of advancing peace, security and stability”

H.E. Mr Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname ...

You’ve recently said that some of the important principles of your Government include democracy, upholding of democratic institutions, rule of law and human rights. You say this from a historical perspective, and you wish to move Suriname forward. Can you kindly elaborate on these ideals? Also, can you tell us about your own roots back in India, and about your ancestry. Are you looking forward to visiting your ancestral land soon?

Throughout these years I have learned that who you are, what you represent and what you do, is fundamentally driven by three driving forces. First and foremost: your own norms and values, instilled in you by your upbringing and education. They inspire your vision, aspirations, and actions. I already mentioned my mother who taught me and my siblings the core values of honesty, decency, responsibility, caring for others and giving back to society—norms and values that still guide me in both my personal and professional life. Secondly, the history and legacy you inherit in public service from former leaders as well as the inspiration from international leaders who have changed the world in no uncertain terms, like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela. And thirdly, the realities of the society you belong to, in terms of its history, ethnic plurality, cultural and religious diversity, state of democracy, the type of governance and economy, and the respect for the rule of law. As far as my own roots are concerned, as mentioned before, I have visited India twice and it always is a great experience visiting the country of your ancestors. I had the privilege to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the late Sushma Swaraj in 2018, one of India’s great Ministers of Foreign Affairs, when I headed a delegation to the first PIO Parliamentarian Delegation from Suriname to Delhi, during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. Last year India’s President Shri Ram Nath Kovind visited Suriname and it would not be a surprise to anybody that at some point in time that visit will be reciprocated.

May we request you to give a message to the Government of India and through it to the people of India?

My message to the People of India and the Indian government is that I wish to assure them that our countries and our peoples share the goal of advancing peace, security and stability in our own regions and respect for democracy in the entire world. It is my belief that our countries will continue their friendship into the future, based on mutual respect and shared interests to benefit our peoples through cultural exchange, business, and investments. Please accept our best wishes and may God bless the people and leaders of India.