“Bilateral relations will scale new heights”

H.E. Mr Mahender Singh Kanyal, Ambassador of India to Suriname, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines responded to questions from the India Empire Magazine on a range of subjects ...

Which are the major Indian businesses that have a presence in Suriname, and the other nations where you are accredited to as Ambassador?

The transformation of the Latin American region has opened up immense complementarities and synergies with India, which has resulted in setting up of joint ventures, flowing of investment and increase in bilateral trade. India’s total trade with the LAC region in 2017-18 was US$ 37.04 billion. A number of Indian companies such as Sterlite Power Grid, Suzlon, Praj, KEC, Renuka Sugar, Reliance Industries, and Shapoorji and Palonji have won key contracts in the region. Latin America is the top destination for India’s vehicle exports. India is the 3rd largest supplier of textiles and the 4th largest supplier of readymade garments to Latin America. Similarly, the volume of Indian exports of pharmaceuticals to the region is on the increase. More than a hundred Indian companies have invested over US$ 12 billion in Latin America in oil fields, mines, agri business, pharma, IT and manufacturing sectors. There are over two dozen Indian IT and BPO firms, which have operations in the region employing over 25000 Latin American staff. In recent years, India has started sourcing gold and precious and semi precious stones from Latin America, which has considerable reserves.

The big businesses, generally speaking, in Suriname are run by the Hindustani community. While trade between India and Suriname and India and St. Lucia, SVG and Barbados are modest, there is considerable untapped potential to enhance businesses between India and the four accredited countries. Currently, Indian exports to Suriname consists of boilers, machinery, iron and steel, electrical machinery and equipment, sound recorders, pharmaceutical products, textiles, vehicles, coffee, tea and spices, rubber, paper, tobacco, organic chemicals, furniture, carpets, ceramic products, footwear and printed books. Import consists of wood, aluminum and electrical machinery. In case of St. Lucia, Indian export consists of iron and steel, vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof, articles of apparel and clothing accessories, not knitted or crocheted, articles of apparel and clothing accessories, knitted or crocheted and pharmaceutical products and import consists of aluminium and articles thereof, copper and articles thereof, iron and steel, special woven fabrics; tufted textile fabrics; lace; tapestries; trimmings; embroidery, pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard. With regard to SVG, export from India comprises Pharmaceuticals, Plastic, iron and steel, gems and jewellery, leather goods and Paper, stationery, garments etc. and import ships and vessels from SVG by Indian ship breaking companies. Regarding Barbados, items of export from India are vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof, iron and steel, pharmaceutical products, plastic and articles thereof, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances & parts thereof and import into India: optical, photographic cinematographic measuring, checking precision, medical or surgical inst. and apparatus parts and accessories thereof, pulp of wood or of other fibrous cellulosic material; waste and scrap of paper or paperboard, organic chemicals.