India announces $80 m assistance and VoA for Fiji
During his recent visit to Fiji, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Lines of Credit and development assistance of around USD 80 million for Fiji and. The Visa on Arrival (VoA) scheme has also been announced for all the 14 Pacific Island countries. A number of measures have also been announced to strengthen India’s relationships with Pacific Islands.
- Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit these Pacific countries after Indira Gandhi who visited in 1981.
Summary of Measures Announced:
Visa on arrival (VoA) to Pacific Island Countries
- The VoA scheme has been extended to the nationals of all the 14 Pacific Island countries. These countries include: 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.
Forum of India-Pacific Island Cooperation
- A Forum for India- Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) is to be held on a regular basis.
Trade Office in India
- India has announced to set up Trade Office at an existing diplomatic representation in New Delhi to promote trade between India and Pacific Island Countries.
Special Adaptation Fund of 1 million US dollars for Climate change
- Money from this fund has to be used for adaptation to Climate change. Climate change is a major concern in Pacific Island Countries.India can also use this fund to provide technical assistance and training for capacity building to Pacific Island Partners.
Pan Pacific Islands Project
- Akin to the Pan-Africa Project, India has decided to formulate Pan Pacific Islands Project for telemedicine and tele-education in the Pacific Island countries.
Solar energy project
- India will also work on a solar energy project with the Pacific Islands at the community level. The regional hubs will be developed in the pacific Islands
Joint research in traditional medicine
- India looks 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 experts
- India has 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
- India has proposed a Distinguished Visitors Programme to 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 in this region. India may help these nations by sharing data that could be used for monitoring climate change, disaster risk reduction and management, resource management.