India and Fiji signed three Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) on 19 November 2014 to strengthen bilateral relations. The agreements were signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Narendra Modi to Fiji.
The MoUs were signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Fijian Prime Minister Josiah V Bainimarama in Suva, the capital of Fiji.
Three MoUs that were signed were
• MoU on Cooperation on exchange of information on structure and content of training programs for diplomats to foster closer exchanges between India and Fiji, as well as the Pacific region.
• MoU on earmarking of land for the Diplomatic Missions in respective capitals to provide a permanent location for the conduct of bilateral relations and will be an iconic presence in Suva.
• MoU for extending 70 million US dollars Line of Credit for establishing a Co-Generation Plant at Rarawai Sugar Mills in Fiji to expand the scope of bilateral cooperation in the sugar sector by enhancing value addition and addressing climate change concerns.
Besides, the signing of three MoUs, it was also agreed to
• Identify opportunities to expand trade and investments and work out a concrete road map;
• Expand defence and security cooperation, including assistance in defence training and capacity building;
• Consult each other more closely on international issues of mutual interest, including international trade, climate change, United Nations Peacekeeping and UN reforms
• Extending visa on arrival facility for the people of the pacific island nation
• Providing 5 million US dollar fund to promote small business and village enterprises
• Double the scholarships and training slots in India for Fijian students
After signing of the agreements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed Fiji’s Parliament. In his address in the Parliament, he said that India is ready to work for making Fiji a digital country. He also appreciated the Fijian Prime Minister for framing a Constitution that not only guarantees freedoms and rights the citizens, but also ensures their basic needs and empower them.
Apart from all these things, Modi on his arrival to Fiji was accorded traditional welcome (iTaukei) by Fijian tribe at Albert Park. Last Indian Prime Minister who was given the traditional welcome was Indira Gandhi. She was given the traditional welcome during her visit to the island nation in 1981.
Fiji shares a historical link with India as the ethnic Indians comprise 37 percent of Fiji's population. Most of them are descendants of indentured labourers who were brought in from India between 1879 and 1916 to work in the country's sugarcane plantations.
However, there were some instances that strained ties between the two nations. The incidents include
• Military coup in 1987, which lead to removal of Indian envoy from Fiji leading to shutting off of the high commission
• The relations were restored in 1999 but was once again lost the momentum after Fiji’s first Prime Minister of Indian origin Mahendra Chaudhry was thrown out of his office in a coup in 2000
But Prime Minister Naredra Modi’s visit to the country and democratically election of Admiral JV Bainimarama as Prime Minister of Fiji would set a right atmosphere to reset ties between the two countries, which have historical links.
Who: India and Fiji
When: on 19 November 2014
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