US-Cuba deal set to spur Delhi-Havana ties

India has joined the world in welcoming the restoration of diplomatic relations between the once arch adversaries, the US and Cuba, after a gap of 54 years, a defining step that will also lead to an acceleration of relations between New Delhi and Havana.
The historic deal between the US and Cuba, which had frozen ties since Washington imposed a trade embargo on Havana in 1954, has elicited praise from leaders around the world. The embargo has still not been lifted as it is the prerogative of the US Congress, which is now dominated by the Republicans.
New Delhi, which has consistently maintained and nurtured diplomatic relations, with Havana, a kindred fellow-traveller in the Non-Aligned Movement, has promptly welcomed the historic move by the US. “India, which enjoys excellent relations with the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba welcomes the decision by both the countries to re-establish diplomatic relations,” said Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of India’s external affairs ministry, said in New Delhi on December 18.
India’s Vice-President Hamid Ansari travelled to Havana more than a year ago and underlined India’s intent to scale up bilateral relations with Cuba, an oil-rich Caribbean country that holds the presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), an influential group of 33 countries in the region. The removal of the US trade embargo, when it happens, will also lead to an upswing in economic ties between India and Cuba.

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