Panama President breaks protocol and accompanies VP Shri Venkaiah Naidu to Panama Canal visit.
India-Panama Canal connect fondly recalled
Panama President spends almost the whole day with Shri Naidu, another rarity
Breaking protocol, President of Panama Mr.Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez today (May 9,2019) accompanied visiting Vice President of India Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu on the later’s visit to the famous Panama Canal. This was an unscheduled engagement of the Panamanian President that surprised the diplomats of both the countries.
At the end of the banquet hosted by himin honour of Shri Naidu, the President of Panama said “Mr.Vice President, I have decided to accompany you on your visit to the Canal and delighted to give you company”. Shri Naidu responded saying “Excellency, it is an honour you would be doing to the people of India andan indication of the importance you attach for improving the relations between the two countries”.
Vice President of Panama Ms.Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado was scheduled to accompany Shri Naidu to the canal till the President made his mind known at the banquet. She also accompanied Shri Naidu.
President of Panama Mr.Rodriguez spent almost six hours without break with Shri Naidu starting with a one-to-one meeting followed by delegation level talks, the banquet and visit to the Panama Canal, which the diplomats of both sides noted as another rarity.
At the Panama Canal, a detailed audio-visual presentation was made to Shri Naidu explaining the origins of the path breaking canal project, it’s advantages and the volume of trade being transited through the canal and the passage of vessels with a system of locks. Construction of the canal started in 1904 and the first ship sailed through it in 1914. The USA handed over the Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999. It was further expanded at a cost of US $ 5.40 billion doubling the carrying capacity and the first vessel sailing through the expanded canal in June, 2016. 5% of the world trade transits through this canal.
India –Panama Canal connection was fondly recalled during the visit of Shri Naidu to the canal. He was informed of the participation of Indians in the construction work during 1904-14 and the Captain of the first vessel that sailed through the expanded canal being an Indian. A Gujarat based company has won the bid for preparing Tender Document for construction of a new bridge on the canal. President of Panama told Shri Naidu that the new bridge would be a show-case project and he was happy with Indian connection with the project.