2023 has been a particularly momentous year for the India-Guyana partnership
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar joined Guyanese President Irfaan Ali and Prime Minister Mark Phillips for the commissioning of ferry MV Ma Lisha in Georgetown on Sunday (April 23, 2023). Speaking at the ceremony, he described it as “truly a testimony of the close friendship between our two countries". EAM Jaishankar explained the significance of the event for India-Guyana ties: 1. Ocean-going ferry MV Ma Lisha, which is a term for friendship, has been designed and built by premier Indian Public Sector Undertaking, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE). 2. The ferry serves the dual purpose of being a passenger and a cargo ferry in Guyana. It can carry almost 300 passengers, 14 cars, two trucks, 14 containers and other assorted cargo. The ferry would connect to the ginger and turmeric growing areas of Guyana and to the Caribbean region in extension. 3. MV Ma Lisha was launched on June 15, 2022; it was formally flagged-off from GRSE, Kolkata on January 12, 2023. It then sailed to Chennai and was hoisted on a semi-submersible MV Sun Rise to be transported to Guyana. 4. “This is a unique feat of loading a fully built ship onto a transport vessel for shipping to Latin America and for us in India, is in itself a new experience,” EAM Jaishankar remarked. 5. According to EAM Jaishankar, the ferry is another example of “the long-standing development partnership between India and Guyana”. The partnership today, extends to a variety of fields, from development cooperation and training, to capacity building, health, education, defence, energy. 6. Some of India’s notable projects in the country include a Cricket stadium in Georgetown, a Centre for Excellence in IT, modernization of sugar plants, and installation of solar traffic lights. 7. So far 640 Guyanese nationals have benefited from India's Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programmes, which are designed to enhance skills and capacity building. Officials from Guyana went to India for specialised training in operating the new ferry. 8. “We are indeed happy to see ITEC, which is the name of the program, ITEC alumni occupy high positions in Guyana including Mr. President, you personally,” he pointed out. 9. EAM Jaishankar noted that 2023 has been a particularly momentous year because of the India visits of both President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo in quick succession, which infused a new energy in the bilateral relationship. 10. “And I believe today, that the arrival of this Ferry and my own visit are milestones really in our.... moving to the next phase of our cooperation,” EAM Jaishankar said.