Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture of India, Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, MOS(ML) paid an official visit to Republic of Cuba from 12 – 14 January 2023. This was her first visit to Cuba.
2. On 13 January, MOS(ML) began her visit by paying tribute to José Martí at his monument at 3 Marzo Park at Havana. Later, accompanied by Minister of Culture of Republic of Cuba H. E Mr. Alpidio Alonso Grau, MOS (ML) paid floral tribute at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in a Park at Havana.
3. MOS (ML) called on H.E. Mr. Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of Republic of Cuba and discussed matters of bilateral importance, political & economic cooperation, etc.
4. She was received by H.E. Mr. Esteban Lazo Hernández, Speaker of Cuban Parliament at El Capitolio (National Assembly of People’s Power) where her interaction included development of indigenous vaccines against Covid and woman empowerment. MOS (ML) apprised H.E. Mr. Esteban Lazo Hernández about policies of the Government of India and emphasized on the need to further strengthen cooperation between the two parliaments. H.E. Mr. Esteban Lazo Hernández appreciated India’s support for Cuba at the United Nations, Indian assisted projects and LOC and in training Cuban nationals under ITEC, among others subjects.
5. During the meeting with H.E. Mr. Gerardo Peñalver Portal, Acting Minister of External Relations of Cuba, both sides discussed issues of common interest and expressed willingness to enhance cooperation in development assistance programmes, trade and investment, energy, disaster management, culture, health and pharma, AYUSH, and biotechnology. Detailed discussions were held on LiFE, CDRI, International Year of Millets 2023, sustainability & climate change.
6. MOS(ML) held bilateral discussions with H.E. Mr. Alpidio Alonso Grau, Minister of Culture of Republic of Cuba and both sides agreed on further strengthening relations in the field of culture with increased exchanges and cooperation including Cinema.
7. During the visit, India announced donation of 12500 doses of pentavalent vaccines to Cuba.
8. MOS (ML) also visited Fidel Castro Centre in Havana and ‘panchakarma centre’ in the premises of International health Centre (La Pradera) that was set up in association with AYUSH Ministry where she held interactions with the Director of La Pradera and practioners of Ayurveda.