I wish to use the occasion of the 73rd Anniversary of Independence of the Republic of India to congratulate the government and people of the world’s largest democracy for the enormous strides they have made since obtaining independence.

I wish particularly to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on winning a historic second term with an improved mandate to build on the impressive social and economic reforms of the last five years which have made India a much better place in which to live, work and do business.

In recent years, India has done miraculously well in reducing poverty, improving health and sanitation standards, revolutionizing its education system to become a global leader, and investing in public infrastructure to create a modern Indian society ready for global leadership. What is also truly impressive about India’s rise as a modern economic powerhouse is that business investment has been a cornerstone of its success story. India is without question a global leader on the economic front, a testimony to which it is the world’s third largest economy at purchasing power parity.

The Indian success story is not just in the homeland. As the Prime Minister of a Caribbean country for 20 years, I have seen first hand the highly significant role that the global Indian community has played across the Caribbean, and its contributions to both the social and business life our region.

I could not omit to make particular mention of the vital contributions that the Indian Community in St. Kitts and Nevis has made to the development and welfare of our country. Indian businesses in manufacturing, retail, medicine and educational services are an enormous part of the economic mainstay of our country. The involvement of the Indian community in sports and various other aspects of the social sphere of our country add to the richness of the Caribbean experience.

It is why my administration between 1995 and 2015 created an environment that celebrated diversity, subsequently enabling the Indian community to expand. I am pleased that St. Kitts-Nevis is one of a few countries in the Caribbean where many Indians are in fact first generation. I want to further encourage that kind of development. It pleases my heart when I see Diwali being celebrated in our country. It further adds to the rich diversity that we unceasingly encourage.

Further afield, the global Indian diaspora has grown exponentially, not just in population, but in the number and type of leadership positions in the world of politics, business, technology and social change, with key figures emerging in North America (USA & Canada) and Europe, through to the Pacific Islands of Fiji.

As I look forward to leading on initiatives for the further development of our country and Caribbean region in the coming year, I am committed to exploring further partnering with India in the critical areas of Education, Technology, Arts and Culture (particularly, developing the film industry and providing local onsite filming for Bollywood), Manufacturing, Financial Services, and Tourism. I believe that our region will become one of the preferred destinations for Indian weddings.

It is my sincere pleasure to extend warm Caribbean congratulations to the government and people of India, including those who work and do business in the wider global community. My wish for your great country is that you continue to prosper and to positively influence global social and economic trends.

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