By Delly Waigeno – EMTV News, Jaipur, India
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, has met with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in Jaipur, India on Friday evening.
The meet took place on the occasion of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit 2015.
The FIPIC Summit is an initiative of the Government of India and is the second of its kind. The first one was held in Fiji in November 2014.
India’s Prime Minister Modi also met with Prime Ministers and Heads of State of 14 other Pacific Island countries including Fiji Prime Minister, Voraqe Bainimarama; Vanuatu Prime MInister, Sato Kilman; Tuvalu Prime Minister, Enele Sopoaga; Samoa Prime Minister Malielegaoi; Nauru President, Baron Waqa; President of Palau Remengesau; Niue Prime Minister,Toke Talagi; President of Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak; and the Vice President of Micronesia, Yosiwo George among others.
In an exclusive interview with EMTV News, Prime Minister O’Neill said the summit was to establish what sort of partnerships can be forged between India and the Pacific Island countries; particularly in the areas of trade and investment and exchange of technology.
In the opening remarks of the FIPIC Summit, Prime Minister Modi said this is the first regional summit he has hosted in his country, and he described it as special.
He said it is special also because India and the Pacific Island countries are setting an example of partnership for this century, based on shared aspirations and challenges.
“Some of you have Exclusive Economic Zones that are larger than the landmass and Exclusive Economic Zone of India taken together. We are at the cusp of a new era, where oceans, like Space, will become important drivers of our economies. Their sustainable use can bring prosperity; and, give us clean energy, new medicines and food security beyond just fisheries,” Modi said.
He acknowledged that climate change is an existential threat to the Pacific Islands. He said it is also taking a toll on millions of Indian citizens’s who live on India’s shoreline that spans 7,500kms and its nearly 1,300 islands.
Mr Modi said FIPIC should become a springboard for India and the Pacific, for a stronger global partnership, where they can also enrich each other through bilateral and regional cooperation.
During the last Summit, India announced a number of new initiatives with the Pacific Islands countries. I am pleased that we have been able to deliver on many of our commitments.
These include increasing India’s grant-in-aid to Pacific Island countries from 125,000 to 200,000 U.S. dollars, e-tourist visas, deputation of Indian experts in the area of coir industry and a special training programme for diplomats of the Pacific Island countries.
“Trade, more than aid, is the enabler for development. I am pleased to announce the establishment of the FIPIC Trade Office in the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi. This is just the first step towards promoting trade and investment opportunities between India and Pacific Island countries.”