Port Moresby [Papua New Guinea]: While co-chairing the 3rd India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Papua New Guinea on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India believes in multilateralism and supports a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. PM Modi, while speaking at the forum also said that for him, the Pacific island nations are “large ocean countries and not small island states”. PM Modi co-chaired the 3rd India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit with the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape. Notably, 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are participating in the summit. Addressing the FIPIC Summit, PM Modi said that India is ready to share its experiences and capabilities with Pacific island countries without any hesitation.
“India is proud to be your development partner. You can count on India as a reliable partner. We are ready to share our experiences and capabilities with you without hesitation. We believe in multilateralism and support a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” PM Modi said.
Speaking on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Prime Minister added that it was seen the most in the Global South.
At the FIPIC Summit in Papua New Guinea with fellow FIPIC leaders. pic.twitter.com/nOArwGJWdc
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 22, 2023
“Challenges related to climate change, natural disasters, hunger, poverty and health were already there, now new problems are arising…I am happy that India stood by its friendly Pacific Island countries in times of difficulty,” PM Modi added.
India considers it its responsibility to convey the concerns of the Global South, their expectations and their aspirations to the world through the G20. This was my effort in the last two days at the G7 summit as well, he said.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Papua New Guinea counterpart held a bilateral in Port Moresby and discussed cooperation in Commerce, technology, and healthcare as well as climate change.
Calling the talks productive, Prime Minister Modi said that they covered the full range of bilateral relations between India and Papua New Guinea.
“Prime Minister James Marape and I had very productive talks, covering the full range of bilateral relations between India and Papua New Guinea. We discussed ways to augment cooperation in commerce, technology, healthcare and in addressing climate change,” PM Modi tweeted.
Moreover, the two leaders also launched a translation of the Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural’ in the Tok Pisin language of Papua New Guinea.
The book, which was launched by the PMs of India and Papua New Guinea was co-authored by Subha Sasindran and Governor Sasindran Muthuvel of West New Britain Province.
PM Modi arrived in the Indo-Pacific country on the second leg of his three-country visit. Upon PM Modi’s arrival, the Indian national anthem was played and the two prime ministers stood still in respect. PM Modi was also accorded a guard of honour on his arrival.
This is PM Modi’s first tour to PNG, as well as the first-ever visit by any Indian Prime Minister to the Indo-Pacific country.
Pacific Islands will rally behind India: Papua New Guinea PM tells Modi
Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape on Monday told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Pacific Islands nations consider the Indian premier as the leader of the Global South and will rally behind India’s leadership at international forums.
Highlighting the problems faced by Pacific Islands nations due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Marape said this while addressing the FIPIC Summit.
“We are victims of global powerplay… You (PM Modi) are the leader of Global South. We will rally behind your (India) leadership at global forums,” said Marape.
He pointed to the inflationary pressure on his country due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
He said that Pacific Islands nations have to face the brunt of the war as they have high costs of fuel and power tariffs and suffer as a result of big nations at play in terms of geopolitics and power struggles.
“The issue of Ukraine war with Russia or Russia war with Ukraine rather, we import the inflation to our own small economies. These nations sitting before you, Mr Prime Minister (PM Modi), have high costs of fuel and power tariffs in their own countries and we suffer as a result of big nations at play in terms of geopolitics and the power struggles out there,” said Marape.
He urged PM Modi to be an active voice for the small island nations at global forums such as G20 and G7, adding, “You are the voice that can offer our issues at the highest as advanced economies discuss matters relating to economy, commerce, trade and geopolitics.”
Marape prompted India to use the third India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit to be the strong voice and advocate the challenges of the region.
“We ask you, using this moment where I am co-chairing and I speak for my small brother and sister nations of the Pacific. Whilst our land may be small and the number may be small, our area and space in the Pacific are big. The world uses for trade, commerce and movement,” added the Papua New Guinea PM.
He further urged PM Modi to be an advocate for Pacific Island nations, adding, “We want you to be an advocate for us. As you sit in those meetings and continue to fight for the rights of small emerging nations and emerging economies.”
“Our leaders will have a moment to speak to you. I want you, Mr Prime Minister, for you to spend time hearing them. And hopefully, at the end of these dialogues, may India and the Pacific’s relationship is entrenched and strengthened,” said Marape.
“But more importantly, the issues that are facing the Pacific island nations, especially the smaller ones amongst us ahead in its right context and given support by you, the leader of the Global South,” the Papua New Guinea leader said.
Marape also highlighted the shared history of India and Papua New Guinea.
He said, “People have been travelling for thousands of years. Just like your people have lived in India for thousands of years. We all come from a shared history. A history of being colonised. History that holds the nations of Global South together. I thank you (PM Modi) for assuring me in the bilateral meeting that as you host G20 this year you will advocate on issues that relate to the Global South.”
He said that Global South have development challenges and raised concern over the use of its resources while its people are kept aloof from sharing its fruits.
“In the Global South, we have development challenges. Our resources are harvested by tones and volumes. And our people have been left behind,” said Marape.