Modi to co-chair Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit  

The last Summit of the FIPIC took place in Jaipur, India, on 21 August 2015 with all 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs)…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will co-chair the third Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC III Summit) jointly with Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape next week.

The Prime Minister will visit Papua New Guinea on May 22, which will be the first visit by an Indian PM. PM Modi is all set for his three-nation visit, which will start with Japan attending the G7 Summit and then he will go to Papua New Guinea and lastly, he will visit Australia.

The last Summit of the FIPIC took place in Jaipur, India, on 21 August 2015 with all 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

During the two FIPIC Summits, India announced initiatives across a wide array of areas to assist the PICs in facing challenges and achieving aspirations for the well-being and development of its people.

A landmark initiative launched under the rubric of the Act East Policy for the PICs is the FIPIC.

PM Modi hosted the First FIPIC Summit in Suva on 19 November 2014 during his historic visit to Fiji, with the participation of all 14 PICs – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa, Vanuatu, Niue, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Palau, Nauru and the Solomon Islands.

A major part of India’s engagement with PICs is through development assistance under South-South Cooperation that is mainly in the form of capacity building (training, scholarships, grant-in-aid and loan assistance) and community development projects.

Development partnership has been extended to PICs for socio-economic progress, through community development projects such as solar electrification, supply of agricultural equipment, computers and LED bulbs for schools, sewing machines, dialysis machines, portable sawmills, boats and pick-up trucks, vehicles, construction of sea wall, and coral farms, etc. PICs have been appreciative of developmental cooperation with India.

Initiatives in the region have included the setting up of Information Technology Labs in the PICs. Centres for Excellence in IT (CEITs) have been established in various PICs.

All the PICs countries are vulnerable to climate change and to the effects of rising sea levels. Initiatives like International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) complement our relationship with PICs. Under the CDRI framework, India, along with Australia, the UK and small island developing states (SIDS) launched the ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States’ (IRIS) on the sidelines of the COP26 at Glasgow on 2 November 2021 to assist the SIDS from disasters and to mobilize technology, finance, and necessary information for Pacific islands and CARICOM nations in the Indo-Pacific region.

Initiatives have been taken in meeting the challenges of climate change that threaten all the PICs. A project for solar electrification of 2,800 houses in 14 PICs has been undertaken under which 70 women solar engineers (called Solar Mamas) have been trained and the electrification process is underway. This project, while addressing climate change and goals of sustainable development, also aims to provide livelihoods to women

Development partnership with PICs has included support to infrastructure development, with a focus on sectors of education, health and culture.

Other community development projects have included revamping libraries and school buildings, renovating of colleges and provision of IT infrastructure to educational institutes, apart from setting up digital libraries.

India has also supplied indelible ink to Fiji and Papua New Guinea for use in their general elections. A landmark programme in the health sector has been the Jaipur Foot Camp fully funded by the Government of India organized in Fiji in collaboration with the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services. Customized prosthetic limbs were provided to around 600 Fijians during the Camp.

India has been providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the PICs from time to time. India has assisted various PICs with the supply of Covid-19 Vaccines and Medical supplies during the pandemic.

Apart from bilateral engagements, the India-UN Development Partnership Fund was created in 2017. It aims to support demand-driven sustainable development projects in developing countries, focusing on LDCs and small island developing states. PICs have been beneficiaries of this fund. (ANI)

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