A new Indian cultural centre will come up soon in Trinidad and Tobago, Indian Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat said Friday.
Speaking at a reception hosted in his honour by the Indian high commissioner here, Shekhawat said that the construction of the new centre, to be named after Mahatma Gandhi, will start soon.
Shekhawat lauded the Indian diaspora in Trinidad and Tobago for their contribution to the development and prosperity of this Caribbean nation.
"It is a matter of great pride that the Indians here have not only assimilated themselves very well but there has also been cross-cultural fertilisation over the long years since the first batch of Indian immigrants arrived here more than 160 years back," he said.
There are around 520,000 ethnic Indians in this Caribbean nation, making them the ethnically leading community in this country of over one million. Most of them are descendants of Indians who had come in the 19th and early 20th centuries to work as indentured labour in sugarcane plantations.
"Every one of you is India's overseas ambassador and also an inheritor of our shining legacy," he said at the large gathering in the Trinidad Hilton hotel here.
Earlier, speaking at a luncheon hosted in his honour by the parliament of Trinidad and Tobago, Shekhawat said that India's creditable achievements since attaining independence are a success story of progress in a democratic framework.
"India has shown how problems can be successfully addressed through discussion, dialogue and decisions taken in a spirit of consensus, peace and harmony," he said.
Stating that India was greatly impressed by Trinidad and Tobago's commendable economic growth, which has made it the richest country in the region, he said that India and the prosperous Caribbean country now offer attractive opportunities for long-term economic and business partnership.
On the concluding day of his two-nation tour of the Caribbean, the vice-president also watched the proceedings at a session of Trinidad and Tobago's House of Representatives. The vice-president was welcomed with thumping of desks by both sides of the house.
Shekhawat leaves for India Saturday.