Antigua and Barbuda is proposing removing the remaining restrictions to more
people to people contact with the people of India.
This proposal was among matters raised when Prime Minister Gaston Browne met
on Tuesday with the visiting new Indian High Commissioner, Dr. Amit Telang,
who made a courtesy call on the prime minister on his inaugural visit to the
PM Browne used the opportunity to thank the government and people of India for
coming to the rescue of many Caribbean states during the COVID-19 pandemic
when many developed countries withheld anti-COVID vaccines and other medical
equipment from countries such as Antigua and Barbuda.
“It was extremely difficult to get these vaccines but luckily for us India came
forward to make vaccines available and, in the process, helped to save lives. We
will be always grateful for this level of assistance from our friends, India,” PM
Now, he said it was time to further deepen the areas of collaboration to include
investments and trade as will as people to people contact through tourism. “We
want to see more visits from the people of India coming as tourists. Already, we
have visa-free entry for officials and diplomats and I am hoping that we can move
to visa-free entry for all so that we can invite more Indians to our shores as
tourists,” he stated.
The prime minister took note of the fact that India has been growing exponentially
with a growing middle class that is looking for more exotic areas of the world to
visit; Antigua and Barbuda, he suggested, could be one such destination.
PM Browne calls for putting in place the necessary regime for people to move
freely between both countries. Additionally, he made a case for more airlifts
between both Antigua and Barbuda and India.
Noting the new University of the West Indies campus here in Antigua and
Barbuda, the prime minister stated that this is another area where these contacts
could be strengthened with study programmes organized jointly with UWI FIC and
universities in India.
On the issue of India’s role on the global stage, PM Browne observed that with its
huge population, financial markets and economic growth, India will become one of
the major powers over the next decade. “You have all the ingredients to achieve
this,” he told the High Commissioner.
HC Telang welcomed the remarks from the prime minister and noted he met with
officials of UWI FIC on Monday and already discussions are taking place on
various areas of cooperation between The UWI and universities in India. He also
made an offer of more training opportunities for Antigu and Barbuda nationals to
pursue various training programmes in India