A Guyanese ministerial delegation will be visiting India next week to attend several high-level meetings.The delegation will be led by Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge, and includes Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman. During the State visit, which is scheduled for January 29 to February 3, they will be attending the Guyana-India Joint Commission and the Inter-Ministerial Consultations.The visit will provide an opportunity for the two States to further enhance relations through an exchange of political dialogue as well as for the fostering of economicVice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidgeand cultural cooperation.The Joint Commission facilitates talks between the two countries on all aspects of bilateral relations while the Inter-Ministerial Consultations allow for dialogue in areas of common interest at both the regional and global levels.“Since the independence of Guyana in 1966 and the immediate establishment of political and diplomatic relations with India, our mutual relationship has been strong. Our ongoing social and cultural cooperation is a reflection of this close link,” stated Minister Greenidge.“The visit is intended to set a policy framework for medium to long term cooperation,” he added.While in India, the Foreign Minister is also expected to sign and ratify the Framework Agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance, a platform through which sun-rich countries collectively address common challenges related to the use of solar energy.This will serve to advance Guyana’s efforts to establish a “Green Economy”, including through its renewable energy sector, as well as further solidify the bond between the two countries. Also slated for signature is a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the cultural exchange programme between the two Governments.Guyana and India have already collaborated on several development projects in areas such as infrastructure, energy, information and communications technology (ICT) and agriculture. Additionally, in 2016, the two States signed an MoU, which allowed for the creation of a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology.Formal diplomatic relations between Guyana and India were established on May 26, 1966.This visit of the ministerial delegation to the Asian powerhouse comes on the heels of a public exchange between Head of the local Department of Public Information (DPI), Imran Khan, and Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingham.Khan had accused the Indian mission of interfering in the country’s internal affairs and attempting to engage in destabilisation of the coalition Government. His statement was in light of the recently-concluded Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) Parliamentary Conference held in New Delhi earlier this month, where a 23-member Guyanese delegation attended upon invitation of the Indian Government.The delegation, which was the largest at the conference, comprised 17 Opposition and three Government parliamentarians as well as three Mayors – all of Indian heritage.The DPI Director, in a Facebook post, asked whether the Indian High Commission deliberately invited only three Government backbenchers and specifically ignored Government Ministers of Indian heritage.In response, however, the resident Indian diplomat, who was tagged by Khan on the post, explained that the top hierarchy of both the Indian and Guyana Governments were aware that the invitations were for 23 Members of Parliament and three Mayors of Indian Origin who were not Ministers.“Hence reckless comments on such a serious issue on social media with the clear intention to mislead the general public by none other than Director of Public Information is unfortunate, irresponsible, unprofessional and to say the least, mischievous given the excellent bilateral relations being enjoyed by both India and Guyana and the ongoing friendly cooperation in various multilateral fora,” Mahalingham said in a comment on the post by the Government’s information chief.While there were several arguments pertaining to whether Khan should be asking these questions, or whether it was a direct attack on the Indian High Commissioner, several persons found it strange that Khan, a public office bearer, would raise these concerns with a foreign mission in such a forum.Meanwhile, Government had subsequently distanced itself from Khan’s comments, with Minister of State, Joseph Harmon saying that the personal view expressed by the State official did not reflect that of the coalition Government.“It does not represent the position of the Government. We have excellent relations with India and we continue to work on those relations. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that we have with that country and we would like to work towards ensuring that it gets better,” he had said.