Indian President Ram Nath Kovind will hand out cricket kits during his tour of the two Caribbean countries.
The President is on a state visit to Jamaica and will then travel to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) until May 21.
Cricket has linked India to Caribbean countries with Jamaican cricketers like Chris Gayle and Jimmy Adams being household names.
During a curtain raiser ahead of President Kovind’s visit, Secretary (East) of the Ministry of External Affairs, Saurabh Kumar, said: “The two countries that are part of what is commonly known as the West Indies. There there is love for cricket and that was a request that was made in the interaction that our head of mission had there and we will be very happy given the love for cricket both there down and here, to give them these cricket kits.”
The Indian President will present cricket kits to the President of the Jamaica Cricket Association and the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association.
India has been helping to build cricket-related capacity around the world from the Maldives where it helped build a cricket stadium to train Afghan cricketers in the past. In fact, cricket bats were donated by PM Modi to world leaders as part of the connection.
This is the Indian President’s first visit to the two countries. In Jamaica, President Kovind will meet with Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
He will inaugurate the India-Jamaica Friendship Garden by planting a sapling of sandalwood. Alongside this, a road in the capital of Kingston will be named after Dr BR Ambedkar to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Saurabh Kumar explained: “The bilateral relationship is based on common ties of history, parliamentary democracy, Commonwealth membership and love of cricket.”
Jamaica is a Girmitya country with around 70,000 strong Indian diasporas. Girmitiya Country – Fiji, Mauritius, South Africa and the Caribbean region are places where Indian indentured laborers were taken by the British.
Most of these Indians hail from the Indian states of UP, Bihar and Bengal and have retained their culture. This year also marks the 176th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in Jamaica.
In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a country with a population of 1.1 lakh has about 7,700 people of Indian origin.
The President will meet with Governor General Susan Dougan and Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. Jamaica and SVG are members of the International Solar Alliance, headquartered in India.