The Government of India is strongly committed to working closely with Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Sitiveni Rabuka and the Fiji Government and local stakeholders to collaboratively accomplish the development aspirations of Fiji and the Pacific family.
This message was conveyed to Prime Minister Rabuka at an introductory call today (January 19th, 2023), from the Indian High Commissioner to Fiji, Shri Palaniswamy Subramanyan Karthigeyan.
Prime Minister Rabuka said Fiji and India share long-standing and warm, friendly relations built on mutual respect, goodwill and strong people-to-people ties.
He expressed his heartfelt appreciation to India for supporting Fiji over the years and during times of need, through provision of medical supplies and lifesaving vaccines for covid-19.
Prime Minister Rabuka pledged Fiji’s commitment to further strengthen the existing relationship given the proud history of Fiji-India engagement which, began when the first indentured labourers arrived on our shores in 1879. The Indian population’s immense contribution towards nation building was acknowledged.
Prime Minister Rabuka said he was heartened by the kind wishes extended by India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in a congratulatory letter, conveying his great commitment to work closely on issues of mutual interest and priorities.
He said Fiji looks forward to jointly hosting the 12th World Hindi Conference next month from 15 to 17 February in Nadi. The Conference will promote and celebrate the preservation of Hindi language and culture in Fiji over the past 144 years from the time, the first Girmityas arrived in Fiji.
While congratulating India on its G20 Presidency, Prime Minister Rabuka said this would be a grand opportunity to work collaboratively to mitigate the global challenges and build a sustainable future for all. Today’s meeting also highlighted prospects for greater collaboration in the post pandemic era, to drive the collective priorities enshrined in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
Prime Minister Rabuka thanked High Commissioner Karthigeyan for the opportunity to discuss the initiatives that would improve the lives of communities in Fiji, Pacific and beyond.
Indian High Commissioner Shri P.S. Karthigeyan congratulated Prime Minister Rabuka for the recent elections and he reaffirmed India’s unwavering support for the Fiji Government.
High Commissioner P.S. Karthigeyan said the modern and multifaceted development partnership between Fiji and India covers all major areas of nation building including agriculture, education, health, climate change and development of Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) with a special focus on training, capacity building and capability development.
He said as a special friend and trusted partner, India had always been there for Fiji in its times of need, whether it is an extreme natural event or an unprecedented challenge like the covid-19 pandemic. He said it’s good to note that the 100,000 covid-19 vaccines supplied by Government of India in March 2021 helped launch the successful national vaccination programme in Fiji.
“While we continue to strengthen our cooperation in the above and other priority areas of Fiji, I also see immense opportunities in emerging areas such as digital partnership. Whether it is in leveraging of digital technology to enhance the delivery of public services or in building a knowledge based economy, I see immense synergy between our two countries. I look forward to working closely with the Fiji Government and other stake holders to take this forward in a time bound manner.
“There are also huge opportunities in the areas of supply of drugs and pharmaceuticals, development of commercial farming, infrastructural development, cooperatives and renewable energy,” said High Commissioner P.S. Karthigeyan.
He said the 12th World Hindi Conference jointly hosted by the Government of India and Government of Fiji, symbolises the special cultural linkage between Fiji and India.
As part of India’s enduring commitment to the Pacific region, the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) is planned to be held in Papua New Guinea (PNG) later this year.