Suriname President Chandrikapersad Santokhi on Friday said the world needed a country like India to take the lead in resolving conflicts and raising the voice of the global south on a wider stage like the G20, reiterating his country’s support for New Delhi’s UN Security Council membership.
“India as chair of G20 is very important now, not only for G20 members but for so many other countries who don’t have a seat and don’t have a voice. PM Modi has initiated a very good strategy to include us all in the Voice of Global South Summit and take it to the G20 platform,” he told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
“My country supports it (India’s membership to the UN Security Council). India has shown the world its capacity and strength in the area of peaceful settlement of issues. India has shown the world that it’s the world’s largest democracy,” he said.
“In the area of leadership, we have seen India is always historically following the path of peace and dialogue. And at this time when we do have turmoil and conflicts, you have to look for such a leader,” President Santokhi said.
“Moreover, where we see a decline of the economy and a lot of countries are getting setbacks because of COVID-19 and war in Ukraine… I think Prime Minister Modi is the right man for this period to take the lead,” he added.
President Santokhi said the “best result” of his visit this time was a deal on debt restructuring. “We will pay back the loans, but the current crisis has made my government seek support from the world. India has supported us and I want to express my sincere thanks for it,” he said.
He said the Indian government had expressed its interest in cooperation with his South American country in not just maritime security but also blue economy. He expressed hope that India and Suriname will also partner in the technology and healthcare sectors.
The second Indian-origin person to be elected President of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi was the guest of honour at the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in Indore this week.
He also attended the two-day Voice of Global South virtual summit organised by India to highlight concerns and challenges facing developing nations amid increasing geopolitical turmoil. India has said it plans to channel the concerns of the Global South into discussions at the G20 during its presidency.