The leaders from India and the Pacific Island countries including Tonga, met in New Delhi and Jaipur City, India from 19th to 21st August 2015 for the Second Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC). The FIPIC Summit was first launched in Fiji last year, aiming to deepen cooperation between India and the Pacific Island Nations in areas of mutual interest.
On the 19 August 2015, the Pacific Island Leaders met with President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi, which he stated that India takes great importance of their economic linkages and cooperation with the Pacific; which is a key factor in India’s extended ‘Act East Policy’. The President further indicated that India is keen to strengthen and diversify India-Pacific bilateral trade and encourage investments in fisheries, agriculture, oil and natural gas, mining and water desalination.
On the 20 August 2015, various organizations from different sectors provided presentations covering Tourism, Oil and Gas, Renewable Energy, Broadcasting sector, Enhancing Healthcare, Information Technology, Maritime, Disaster Management, Tourism Development, Fisheries, Rice and Sugarcane, Coconut, Coir and Village Industries.
On Friday 21 August 2015, Prime Minister Modi and the Pacific Island Leaders assembled at Jaipur City, India to open the Second FIPIC Summit.
In terms of the UN Security Council Reform, Prime Minister Modi recommended to adopt the draft presented by the President of the General Assembly as the ‘negotiating tect’ and conclude negotiations during the 70th Session of the General Assembly.
Prime Minister Modi announced the establishment of an Institute for Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Research; and a Network of Marine Biology Research Stations in various Islands. He also proposed to hold an International Conference on “Ocean Economy and Pacific Island Countries” in New Delhi in 2016. India is delighted to host officials and independent experts from all the 14 Pacific Island Countries and India will provide direct support and capacity building for coastal surveillance and hydrographic surveys. This will assist with understanding their maritime zone and strengthen security of their EEZ.
Prime Minister Modi also announced that goodwill visits by Indian Navy to Pacific Islands will be held and extend support in areas of Healthcare through medical camps on the islands.
Prime Minister Modi also announced the establishment of a Space Technology Applications Centre in one of the Pacific Islands for the entire region and provide training in space applications. Space assets and technology will assist in inventory of land and water resources, fishing zoning, forest resources management, coastal and ocean studies, weather and climate change and disaster management support.
In the area of human resource development, Prime Minister Modi announced that Fiji will receive 110 slots while the other 13 countries will double their slots from 119 to 238. In addition, two (2) Scholarships for College Education in India to each of the 13 countries that do not receive them yet, whilst Fiji will continue to receive its existing 33 scholarships. India will also expand its Training Courses for Pacific Island diplomats and offer a two-week Business Management Course at the globally renowned Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru.
In a move aimed at saving kerosene worth about a million US dollars and providing livelihood to women, Prime Minister Modi said that India would train 70 women solar engineers from the islands and provide solar electrification to 2,800 houses – 200 houses in each Pacific Island Country.
Prme Minister Modi also announced the establishment of at least one Information Technology Laboratory in each Pacific Island Country which will not only improve local IT infrastructure but also enable the countries to fulfill India’s commitment to provide tele-medicine and tele-education to the Pacific.
The Prime Minister Modi further stated that the FIPIC Trade Office in New Delhi will support the development of micro, small and medium enterprises and will extend support for purchase of machinery for coconut processing and enhancing rice and sugarcane yields. The Office will assist in improving Market Access for Pacific Islands.
Prime Minister Modi concluded the summit and appreciated the recommendations from the Pacific Island Leaders towards the issues of global challenges and bilateral cooperation.
Hon. Semisi Fakahau, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government extended Tonga’s appreciation for the invitation to attend the summit and applauded India’s success with its tremendous assistance rendered to the Tongan Government. The Hon. Minister highlighted that Tonga seeks India’s assistance to explore potential cooperation particularly in the following areas that require funding and technical assistance. Such areas include climate change, Agriculture (consideration to open markets for kava export), Fisheries, Information Technology, Energy, Tourism, Investment and the Micro, Small to Medium Enterprise (MSME) Policy.
The Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Semisi Fakahau and the rest of the delegation will return to Tonga this week.
Issued by the: The Prime Minister’s Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Tel: (676) 24 644 Fax: (676) 23 888; For media enquiries- Email: email@example.com