Prime Minister Narendra Modi will co-chair the third summit of the Pacific Island Cooperation Forum (FIPIC III Summit) with Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea James Marape next week.
The prime minister will visit Papua New Guinea on May 22, the first visit by an Indian prime minister.
PM Modi is all set for his trip to three countries, which will start with Japan attending the G7 summit, then he will move to Papua New Guinea and finally he will visit Australia.
The last summit of the FIPIC took place in Jaipur, India on August 21, 2015 with all 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs).
During the two FIPIC Summits, India announced initiatives in a wide range of areas to help the PICs meet challenges and achieve aspirations for the well-being and development of the population.
A pioneering initiative launched under the banner of the Act East Policy for the PICs is the FIPIC.
Prime Minister Modi hosted the first FIPIC summit in Suva on November 19, 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 Solomon Islands.
An important part of India’s involvement in PICs is through South-South cooperation development assistance, mainly in the form of capacity building (training, grants, grants and loans) and community development projects.
Development partnership has been extended to PICs for socio-economic advancement, through community development projects such as solar electrification, provision of farm equipment, computers and LED lights for schools, sewing machines, dialysis machines, portable sawmills, boats and pick-up trucks, vehicles, construction of seawall and coral nurseries, etc. PICs have appreciated the development cooperation with India.
Initiatives in the region include setting up Information Technology Labs in the PICs. Centers for Excellence in IT (CEITs) have been established in several PICs.
All PIC countries are vulnerable to climate change and to the consequences of rising sea levels. Initiatives such as International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) complement our relationship with PICs. Under the CDRI framework, India along with Australia, UK and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have launched the ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island Developing States’ (IRIS) in the sidelines of the COP26 in Glasgow on 2 November 2021 to assist the SIDS of disasters and to mobilize technology, finance and necessary information for Pacific Islands and CARICOM countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Initiatives have been taken to address the challenges of climate change that threaten all PICs. A project for solar electrification of 2,800 homes in 14 PICs has been carried out, with 70 female solar engineers (called Solar Mamas) trained and the electrification process is underway. This project not only focuses on climate change and sustainable development goals, but also aims to provide women with a livelihood
The development partnership with PICs included support for infrastructure development, with an emphasis on education, health and culture.
Other community development projects included refurbishing libraries and school buildings, renovating colleges and providing IT infrastructure to educational institutions apart from establishing digital libraries.
India has also supplied indelible ink to Fiji and Papua New Guinea for use in their general elections. A pioneering program in the health sector is the Jaipur Foot Camp, fully funded by the Government of India, organized in Fiji in conjunction with the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services. Custom prosthetic limbs were provided to approximately 600 Fijians during the camp.
India has provided humanitarian aid and disaster relief (HADR) to the PICs from time to time. India has assisted several PICs with the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines and medical supplies during the pandemic.
In addition to bilateral commitments, the India-UN Development Partnership Fund was established in 2017. It aims to support demand-driven sustainable development projects in developing countries, with an emphasis on LDCs and Small Island Developing States. PICs are beneficiaries of this fund.
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