Havana: President Ram Nath Kovind has urged Cuba to lead alongside to empower the developing nations, seeking to “play a leading role in enhancing the South-South cooperation”. Marking the end of the first visit by an Indian leader to the Caribbean island in more than six decades, Kovind here on Friday expressed his wish that Cuba and India “claim a greater voice for the developing countries”, Efe news reported.
In front of an audience of students, politicians and diplomats at the University of Havana, Kovind in his speech, entitled “India and the Global South”, stated that “partnership for development has been at the heart of international relations between the two countries”.
He also stressed that Cuban medical relief missions and doctors abroad “have brought health benefits to millions of people around the world”. The visiting Indian head of state pointed out the “warmth and friendship” between the two nations, and insisted that developing countries “must work together to gain a better place in the global order”.
He said in order to achieve that it was necessary that they maintain “mutual respect and solidarity”. In this regard, he welcomed the decision taken earlier in June to convene the high-level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation in March 2019 in Buenos Aires.
It was a historic moment as no Indian leader had visited the island since the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power and established the current communist system.
Kovind also visited the Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) here on the day and offered tributes to the statues dedicated to Cuban national hero Jose Marti and India’s Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.