Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced number of measures to strengthen relationships with Pacific Islands. He announced the measures at the Pacific Island Leaders Meeting in Suva, Fiji on 19 November 2014.
Modi announced the measures during his day long visit to Fiji. He is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Pacific countries after Indira Gandhi who visited in 1981.
The following are the measures announced to strengthen relationships with Pacific Islands:
A Special Adaptation Fund of 1 million US dollars
- This fund will be used for Climate change, which is a major issue of concern for Pacific Island Countries.
- This fund can also be used to provide technical assistance and training for capacity building to Pacific Island Partners by India.
Pan Pacific Islands Project
- He announced Pan Pacific Islands Project for telemedicine and tele-education like pan-Africa Project.
- India is also working on a solar energy project with the Pacific Islands at the community level.
- The regional hubs will be developed in the pacific Islands
Indian Visa on arrival to all the fourteen Pacific Island Countries
- He announced Visa on Arrival for nationals of all the 14 Pacific Island countries. These are Cook Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Republic of Nauru, Republic of Kiribati, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Niue, Republic of Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
- This will facilitate exchanges and promote better understanding between India and pacific countries by reducing the inconvenience in travel due to Visa issues.
Increased Grant-in-Aid to Pacific Island Countries
- He announced the increase in Grant-in-aid to 200000 US dollars annually which will be rolled over annually.
- At present, India provides Grant in aid of 125 thousand US dollars annually to each Pacific Island country for community projects selected by respective country.
Establish Trade Office in India
- He announced to set up Trade Office at an existing diplomatic representation in New Delhi to promote trade between India and Pacific Island Countries.
- India will provide complimentary space to Pacific Island countries during exhibitions organised by ITPO to showcase their products.
- India is looking forward to do joint research in traditional medicine and explore options of developing healthcare facilities for the benefit of people in the region.
Deputation of ITEC experts
- He proposed to depute technical experts to share experience and expertise with pacific Island countries in the fields of agriculture, healthcare and IT.
Training to Diplomats from Pacific Island Countries
- Foreign Service Training Institutes of India will organise training programmes for the Diplomats of Pacific Island countries. These training will be held in both the countries (respective country and India).
Distinguished Visitors Programme
- He proposed to commence a Distinguished Visitors Programme. Under the program, India will organise seminars and invite friends from the region. This will help to explore new ideas to strengthen the mutual beneficial economic cooperation.
- India proposed cooperation in use of Space technology applications for improving the quality of life of people and communications. India can look at possibilities of sharing data that could be used for monitoring climate change, disaster risk reduction and management, resource management.
Forum of India-Pacific Island Cooperation
- He proposed a Forum for India – Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) to be held on a regular basis. The next meeting will be held in 2015 in one of the coastal location in India.