On first state visit, President Murmu to travel to Suriname and Serbia next month

The President will be in Suriname from June 4 to June 6 and will be on a state visit to Serbia from June 7.
President Droupadi Murmu . (Photo | PTI)
President Droupadi Murmu . (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: President Droupadi Murmu will embark on a state visit to Suriname from June 4, her first since assuming office in July last year, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Monday.

Murmu will hold bilateral talks with her Suriname counterpart Chandrikapersad Santokhi and be the chief guest at celebrations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in the South American nation.

The President will be in Suriname till June 6 and visit places of historical and cultural importance and interact with members of the Indian community and diaspora.

"President Murmu's visit to Suriname marks her first State visit since assuming the office of the President last year," the MEA statement said.

Santokhi was in India in January this year as a guest of honour for the 17th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and had met Murmu.

On the second leg of her tour, Murmu will be on a state visit to Serbia from June 7, the first-ever by a head of state from either side, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The first ship carrying 452 Indian labourers arrived in Suriname's capital Paramaribo on June 5, 1873.

Most of the labourers hailed from eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

The Indians, who arrived in Suriname as contract labourers for plantations, have maintained their connection with their roots in India.

"While fully assimilating with the local culture, they continued to cherish, uphold and pass down from one generation to another their traditions, rites and rituals, cuisine, language, folklore and have made a significant contribution in all spheres to the sustainable development of Suriname," said the website of the Indian embassy in Suriname.

It said Suriname also has the distinction of being the most prominent foreign country in the world in the field of promotion of the Hindi language. The World Hindi Conference 2003 was held in Paramaribo.

In Serbia, Murmu will have a bilateral meeting with President Aleksandar Vucic, and meet Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, and Speaker of the National Assembly Vladimir Orlic.

The President will also address a business event and interact with the Indian community.

"The President's state visit to Serbia is the first-ever visit by a Head of State from either side and reflects India's commitment to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic, cultural and people-to-people ties," the MEA statement said.

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