Prime Minister extols value of Pacific island nations at third FIPIC summit

Small island nations of the Pacific Ocean are in fact “large ocean states”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, highlighting the importance of the 14 members of the Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC).

In the opening session of the FIPIC-3 summit in Port Moresby, Mr. Modi spoke in favour of free and open Indo-Pacific region and focused on India’s commitment to assist the development goals of the member-countries.

New Delhi would continue to help the Pacific island states in “every possible” way, he said. “Climate change, natural calamities, poverty and famine already existed but now new challenges are emerging as supply chains of food, fuel fertilizer and pharma are facing hurdles. Those we thought were reliable, we came to know they were not standing with us. In this time of difficulty, the old saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed has been proved. From vaccines to medicines, wheat and sugar, India has supplied the countries that needed the items,” he said.

The previous two meetings of the India-Pacific Islands Cooperation were held in November 2014 in Fiji, and August 2015 in Jaipur.

Mr. Modi arrived in Port Moresby on Sunday after completing his engagements at the G-7 summit in Hiroshima, where India was a guest country.

Welcoming the guest, Prime Minister James Marape said the members of the FIPIC had suffered because of the high tariff on energy and food.

Plea to India

“We are victims of global power play and we want you to be an advocate for us and sit in those meetings,” he said, urging India to serve as the voice of the Global South in the G-7 and the G-20.

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