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President Kovind leaves on three-nation visit to Greece, Suriname, Cuba

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New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday left on a three-nation eight-day visit to Greece, Suriname and Cuba. which will be the first by an Indian head of state.

This is Kovind’s fourth state visit as President and the first outside Africa. He will be the first Indian President to travel to Suriname and Cuba and the first to visit Greece since President Kalam in 2007, the President’s office said in a tweet.

Besides his wife Savita, the President is accompanied by Minister of State for Steel Vishnu Deo Sai and Lok Sabha members Dinesh Kashyap and Nityanand Rai and senior officials.

In Greece, Kovind will hold a meeting with President Prokopis Pavlopoulus, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Leader of the Opposition Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Kovind will also meet Indian and Greek CEOs and deliver a speech on “India and Europe in a Changing World” at the Hellenic Foundation for Europe and Foreign Policy, a leading Greek think tank.

India-Greece bilateral trade stands at $530 million and some Indian companies are also present in the infrastructure, pharmaceutical and steel sectors in the central European nation.

With Greece being home to a 12,000-strong Indian diaspora, Kovind will also interact with members of the community.

From Greece, Kovind will leave for Suriname on June 19 in what will be the first ever visit by an Indian head of state to the South American nation.

Kovind’s visits to Suriname and Cuba is being seen as a reflection of India giving more importance to ties with Latin America.

In Suriname, he is expected sign some agreements including on health and information technology.

With 37 per cent of Suriname’s population being people of Indian origin, Kovind will also lay the foundation stone of Vivekananda Cultural Centre.

Most of these Indian-origin people are descendants of indentured labour brought to work in sugarcane plantations, the first batch of whom arrived in 1873.

On June 21, Kovind will participate in activities as part of the International Yoga Day.

From Suriname, he and his delegation will leave for Cuba which again will be the first ever presidential visit from India to the Caribbean island country. (IANS)

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