The two sides have also discussed closer cooperation in trade, energy, health and pharma
India and Cuba are looking at increasing their cooperation in development assistance programmes.

The issue figured during talks between Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi and her Cuban counterpart, Acting Minister of External Relations Gerardo Peñalver Portal.

MoS Lekhi was on her first visit to Cuba from January 12-14.

"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," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Sunday.

Detailed discussions were held on Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), International Year of Millets 2023, sustainability & climate change, the MEA added.

MoS Lekhi also held bilateral discussions with Cuban Minister of Culture of Republic of Cuba Alpidio Alonso Grau. Both sides agreed on further strengthening relations in the field of culture with increased exchanges and cooperation including Cinema, the MEA said.

Additionally, the visiting Indian minister called on President Miguel Díaz-Canel and discussed matters of bilateral importance, political & economic cooperation.

In a separate meeting with Speaker of Cuban Parliament Esteban Lazo Hernández at El Capitolio (National Assembly of People’s Power), her interaction included development of indigenous vaccines against Covid and woman empowerment.

According to the MEA, MoS Lekhi apprised him about policies of the Government of India and emphasized on the need to further strengthen cooperation between the two parliaments. The Cuban Parliament Soeaker 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.

During the visit, India announced donation of 12,500 doses of pentavalent vaccines to Cuba.

Earlier, on Friday, she began her visit by paying tribute to José Martí at his monument at 3 Marzo Park at Havana. She also paid floral tribute at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi in a Park at Havana, accompanied by Cuban Minister of Culture Alpidio Alonso Grau.

During her visit, MoS Lekhi 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.