Trinidad and Tobago, India to celebrate I-Day jointly
Port-of-Spain, Aug 10 (IANS) India and Trinidad and Tobago will jointly celebrate each other's Independence Day here, said Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra who noted a "paradigm shift in bilateral relations".
Mishra said India will join Trinidad and Tobago to mark the 65th and 50th Independence celebrations of each other's country.
The month of August is "freedom month as the first of August marks the end of slavery, then India gained Independence Aug 15 and will celebrate its 65th anniversary, while Trinidad and Tobago will celebrate its Independence Aug 31", he said at a press conference.
Trinidad and Tobago's Indian diaspora consists of 44 percent of the population of 1.3 million people.
Minister of Communications Jamal Mohammed said India and Trinidad and Tobago shared "a long, long friendship and cordial relations".
He recalled that his uncle, Kamaluddin Mohammed, spoke "in glowing terms and with dignified respect" of his meeting with both the late Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Indira Gandhi.
Mishra said since the visit to India by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar there has been a "paradigm shift in bilateral relations".
One of the highlights of the celebrations will be the staging of a conference, "Inheritance, Innovation and Continuity", which will encapsulate 50 years of Trinidad and Tobago and India. India was one of the first countries to establish diplomatic relations when this country gained Independence in August 1962.
Bhoendradatt Tewarie, minister of planning and sustainable development and chairman of 50th Independence celebrations, will formally open the parley Aug 17.
A number of subjects will be discussed Aug 18 including music, arts, the media, Indian films, Ramayana traditions, role of women in society, Hindu women in society, Ayurveda, dance and Indian cuisine.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Dookeran, will give a valedictory address, "50 years of India-Trinidad and Tobago Relations-Perspectives", at the session Saturday.
Indians were brought to these Caribbean islands between 1845 and 1917 to work on sugar and cocoa plantations, principally from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
(Paras Ramoutar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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