President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday spoke on the issue of global cooperation and stressed on the importance of South-South cooperation.
President while addressing a gathering at the University of Havana, said," I have chosen to speak on the theme of India and global South as it happens to be central to both Indian & Cuban foreign policy. "
"The newly developing countries were looking to occupy their space in the comity of nations. The Bandung Conference of 1955 was the first collective voice of the developing countries demanding their sovereignty and territorial integrity. This led to the formation of the Group of 77 at the United Nations. Out of this solidarity was born South-South cooperation which till today forms the bedrock of development partnership within developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America," he added.
The President further asserted that it is necessary for the developing countries form the core of South-South cooperation to develop mutual respect and solidarity.
President Kovind also underscored that meeting with Fidel Castro was a wonderful way to begin his journey to Cuba.
Calling Castro as a good friend of India, he said that "back in time, he lent dignity and strength to the developing countries in international arena."
"It must be a great privilege for you to be a part of this temple of knowledge, which was founded in 1728. Here, then a young law student Fidel Castro gave fiery speeches in the lead-up to the Cuban Revolution," he added.
The United Nations will be hosting the second high level UN Conference on South-South Cooperation in Buenos Aries in 2019.
Talking about India-Cuba relations, the President said, we have strong diplomatic ties and we look forward to enhance bilateral engagement.
India has been imparting training and capacity building in the Global South. The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation platform offers 10,000 scholarships annually, he said.
The President also emphasised on the importance of the unity of the group, saying it has come a long way in its journey since 1960's.
India and Cuba will continue to protect the interest of the Global South, he added.
Earlier in the day, in the presence of the Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) in the fields of bio-technological sphere and traditional system of medicine and homeopathy were signed.
India also offered a soft loan for the solar projects under the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance, of which Cuba is a founding member.
Prior to Cuba, President Kovind visited Greece and Suriname and discussed issues of bilateral concerns with the concerned dignitaries of respective countries.