President Ram Nath Kovind to Embark on 3-nation Tour to Greece, Suriname and Cuba
Ram Nath Kovind (File photo)

New Delhi, Jun 12: President Ram Nath Kovind will embark on a seven-day, three-nation tour this weekend in his maiden visit to Europe and Latin America as the head of the state. The president will visit Greece, Suriname and Cuba.

In the first-leg of the trip, Kovind will visit Greece from June 16-19, said Subrata Bhattacharjee, Joint Secretary (Central Europe) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

On June 17, Kovind will pay a visit to the sites of historical and archaeological importance, participate in a community reception and address the Indian diaspora in the European country. Nearly 12,000 Indians live in Greece.

On June 18, the president will meet his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos. He will also meet Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Greek's Leader of Opposition. On the same day, Kovind will visit Phaleron Commonwealth War Cemetery.

The visit to the cemetery is significant as 74 soldiers of the then undivided India, who lost their lives in the II World War in Greece, were laid to rest here.

In the evening, the president will attend a banquet hosted by the Greek president.

On June 19, last day of his stay in the European country, Kovind will attend India-Greece CEO's breakfast meeting. He will also give a talk on 'India and Europe in the Changing World' at a think tank in Athens.

Greece has supported India's bid in three export-control regimes of Missile Technical Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group, with both the countries having a robust cooperation.

Three agreements are also expected to be signed between the countries during Kovind's visit, Bhattacharjee said. This is also the 40th year of establishment of diplomatic relations with India.

Kovind will be in Suriname, his second leg of the visit, between June 19 to 21.

The president will hold discussions with his Surinamese counterpart Desire Delano Bouterse. This will also be Kovind's first visit to any Latin American country after assuming office.

His trip to the continent comes after Vice President Venkaiah Naidu's visit to Guatemala, Panama and Peru last month. "The visit of the president is a build up from the attention the Government of India and the MEA has been giving to the Latin American region," said Partha Satpathy, Joint Secretary (Latin America and the Caribbean).

Suriname has been celebrating 145 years of the arrival of Indian diaspora to the country and Kovind's visit coincides with the celebration. Kovind and Bouterse will also take part in the International Yoga Day event on June 21.

The two sides are expected to sign 7-8 agreements, including in the areas of elections, health, medicines, IT and preservation of archives. Suriname will also handover the Instrument of Ratification of the International Solar Alliance.

India is expected to extend the Line of Credit in the areas of solar power and maintenance of Chetak helicopters, which Suriname purchased in 2015. Kovind will be in Cuba from June 21-22, where he will hold talks with newly elected Cuban President Miguel Diza-Canel Bermudez. This will be the first visit of an Indian president to Cuba since the 1959 Cuban revolution.

"This will be the fresh line of close interaction with the highest leadership in Cuba," Satpathy said. The Indian president will also lay a wreath on the grave of Fidel Castro, former president of Cuba. Four MoUs are expected to be signed between India and Cuba in the field of biotechnology, homoeopathy and medicinal plants.