Indian Day Celebrated
At an Indian Republic Day reception held at the University College of the Cayman Islands' Sir Vassel Johnson Hall, Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin as the chief guest, acknowledged the positive contributions by Indian nationals to the Cayman Islands over the years.
The event on Tuesday, 30 January 2018 was the first-ever National Day celebration held in the Cayman Islands by the Indian High Commission headquartered in Jamaica.
The programme included addresses by the Premier and His Excellency the High Commissioner for India, Mr. Sevala Naik.
The Premier also paid a tribute to the Father of the Indian nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the non-violence movement he spawned worldwide, influencing prominent world leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mr. McLaughlin noted that the day (30 January) coincided with the 70th anniversary of Gandhi's assassination, a day which is also marked in India as Martyr's Day. He added that Mahatma Gandhi lived his life by example, maintaining humility and an abiding love for the downtrodden and the working class, whom he championed.
Describing the local Indian community as a part of the fabric of the Cayman Islands, the Premier said that according to 2017 statistics, there were some 1,100 Indian nationals resident in the Islands, or four percent of the community.
These included a number of medical professionals at the "ever-expanding and impressive Health City", as well as restaurant industry and other professionals such as doctors, accountants and lawyers.
Mr. McLaughlin noted that India, already an economic world power, could look forward to greater accomplishments on the world stage in the coming months and years.
The High Commissioner, in his welcome remarks, outlined that India which became a Republic on 26 January 69 years ago, adopted its Constitution some three years after getting independence on 15 August 1947. It is now the largest democracy of the world.
Noting that 2017 was a "very fruitful and eventful year in the traditionally cordial and friendly relations between India and the Cayman Islands", Mr. Naik alluded to the first-ever round table business conference held in last year.
"We had quality participation from some of the big companies here and we shared about India surging ahead, a story of success and achievement in terms of economic development" and offering greater investment opportunities for Cayman Islands' firms, he said. There is a huge potential for productive investment into India, he declared.
Currently the seventh largest economy with a GDP of US$2.3 trillion, India is poised to be "the fastest growing in 2018 with a projected growth of 7.4 percent, ahead of China, following which it would move into fifth position after the US, China, Japan and Germany," the High Commissioner said.
During the past 3.5 years, India has turned around from being a part of the "fragile five" percent growth rate to being a "bright spot" and has set a target for the Indian economy to double in size in the next seven years, looking to boost its economy to US$5 trillion by 2025.
Helping the nation to achieve this are its reforms that are underway including 'removing red tape and laying out the red carpet', he said. "Investing in India, travelling to India and manufacturing in India have become much easier than before," he added.
Outlining other strengths in India's education, present economic policies including attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI), and reforms in banking, insurance, aviation and energy, Mr. Naik said India is adopting green energy on a large scale, notably solar and wind.
He welcomed the special dispensation given by the CI Government toward the setting up of Health City and hoped to see through the collaboration the setting up of a world-class medical university in the Cayman Islands.
He added it was especially gratifying to see Indians working as professionals significantly contributing to the prosperity of the Cayman Islands.
For entertainment, the audience was regaled to classical Indian Bharatnatyam as well as Bollywood dancing by a team of young amateur dancers from Jamaica consisting of Shamitha Chindepalli and Rhea Chatani, both 10 years old and 14-year-olds Adhya Jitendra and Mohitha Chindepalli. They were chaperoned by Mrs. Sandhya Chindepalli, Mrs. Kiran Chatani and Dr. Jitendra Nelagadde.
Local restaurant Southern Spice provided the food for the event.
For further information contact: Bina Mani