Indian foreign minister wraps up visit to Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, Apr 29 (EFE).- India’s minister of external affairs, Dr. S. Jaishankar, concluded Saturday a two-day visit to the Dominican Republic that centered on expanding economic links between the two countries.

The final event of his stay, the inauguration of the India pavilion at the Faro a Colon (Columbus Lighthouse) museum in Santo Domingo, followed the unveiling of a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in the Dominican capital.

“It is very appropriate that the first-ever visit by a foreign minister of India, and that to inaugurate the Indian Embassy in this country, should also have the inauguration of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in this city,” Jaishankar said during the ceremony.

“This is not just a token of our appreciation and a statement of our relationship, but it is an expression that perhaps the most universal Indian, the one with the most powerful message, the one with the greatest relevance, should actually find a physical form in this city,” he said.

While Gandhi is most often associated with the philosophy of non-violence, Jaishankar said that the man Indians know as Bapu (Father) was also a pioneer of environmental thought.

“Mahatma Gandhi was actually far ahead of his time and if you look at his teachings very carefully, what today we call Agenda 2030 (for sustainable development) or what we call the commitments of Paris for climate action and climate justice, these were actually ideals that he put forward a century ago. Perhaps not in those words, but with those thoughts and clearly those concepts,” the Indian official said.

“This year,” Jaishankar said, “India is the president of the G20 and our theme for that is One Earth, One Family, One Future, and there is no more powerful symbol of that than Mahatma Gandhi.”

In his remarks, Dominican Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez hailed Gandhi as the embodiment of “the struggle for equality” and efforts to “eradicate the evils of poverty, discrimination, oppression, and injustice.”

Jaishankar’s stay in the Dominican Republic – the last stop on a Latin American tour that took him to Guyana, Panama, and Colombia – included meetings with Alvarez and President Luis Abinader and participation in a business forum. EFE mmv/dr

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