Barbados and India are seeking areas in which they could work closely together for mutual benefit.

This was discussed recently, when Special Secretary for the Americas, Consular and Passports, R Swaminathan, met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean at her Culloden Road Office.

The Special Secretary, who is attached to the Ministry of External Affairs in India, noted that capacity building was one area in which his country could assist Barbados.

He explained that there was an Indian Technical and Economic (ITEC) Programme, which provided scholarships every year and applicants had approximately 300 courses from which to choose.

However, Mr. Swaminathan pointed out that the number of Barbadians applying for the subjects offered was steadily declining, and expressed the hope that more Barbadians would take advantage of this training.

The Minister agreed that ITEC was beneficial to Barbadians and suggested that in addition to the scholarships offered, trainers could come to this country to share some of their expertise with a larger group of persons. She said that this could possibly be done in modules at the University of the West Undies, Cave Hill.

The two officials also discussed issues related to agriculture and the sugar industry and ways in which technocrats in this area could learn new technologies from their counterparts in India, with a view to improving the yield of the sugar cane harvest. They also discussed the signing of a double taxation agreement, a closer relationship with CARICOM, and easier travel to India for business persons.

Barbados and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Consultation in June 2003, which aims to facilitate discussions on bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of political, economic, commercial, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation.??The two countries established diplomatic relations on November 30, 1966.

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