India keen to assist Barbados
THE CONCLUSION of an air services agreement and training opportunities for Barbadians were among the areas discussed, when India’s High Commissioner, Subashini Murugesan, paid a courtesy call on Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Charles Burnett.
Burnett received the High Commissioner on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean. During the call, the two officials discussed a range of issues aimed at furthering the existing bilateral relations between the two countries. High Commissioner Murugesan discussed the training opportunities available to eligible Barbadians under the Indian Technical Cooperation Programme. She also suggested that discussions be held on information communications technology (ICT), renewable energy and agriculture – sectors identified as beneficiaries of Indian expertise. “I have been reading up on agriculture, and I know that you have been trying to revive your sugar industry and we [India] have experts to look at all these issues. We can send experts on agriculture, ICT, or energy,” the envoy offered. The High Commissioner explained that as a developing country, India focused mainly on sharing its expertise with its developing partners. “Increasingly, India is looking at Latin America and the Caribbean region to increase our cooperation,” she added. Murugesan also raised the issue of negotiating a tax information exchange agreement as opposed to a double taxation agreement (DTA) with Barbados. In turn, Burnett signalled the country’s intention to “push to negotiate a DTA”. “We have to deal with the OECD and the pressures that have been brought to bear overtime with the need for transparency in tax information. There are mounting requests to negotiate and we have in fact, started that process. But, our preference is for the DTA as a superior instrument,” he explained. Barbados and India established diplomatic ties on November 30, 1966. (BGIS)