PM Announces Plan To Keep China At Bay

Modi said India decided to establish a super-specialty cardiology hospital in Fiji

New Delhi: In a bid to counter China’s growing influence on the Pacific island nations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a slew of Indian medical and development assistance measures to benefit these 14 small nations, including in healthcare and medical treatment, desalination, renewable energy, technical education scholarships and small and medium enterprises. Addressing the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) at Port Moresby in Papua New Guineaon Monday, Modi announced India’s decision to “establish a super-specialty cardiology hospital in Fiji equipped with trained staff, modern facilities, and infrastructure, that will serve as a lifeline for the entire region”, adding “India will assist in setting up dialysis units in all 14 Pacific island countries and that Sea ambulances will be provided to all the 14 Pacific island countries”.
Modi was conferred the highest civilian honour by both Papua New Guinea and Fiji. He was conferred the Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu (GCL), the highest civilian award by Papua New Guinea, and was bestowed by Fiji with its highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Fiji (CF).

In a huge diplomatic success for India which has positioned itself as the leader of the Global South (developing nations), Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape said the Pacific Islands nations consider Modi as the leader of the Global South and will unite behind India's leadership at the UN and other international fora. In a jibe at China without naming it, Modi reminded the Pacific nations that “those whom we considered trustworthy, it turned out that they were not standing by our side in times of need”, and that the Pacific nations can always “count on India as a reliable partner”.
The 14 Pacific island nations are Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

In his remarks at the summit, Modi said: “I am glad that India stood with its Pacific island friends during this challenging time. Whether it was vaccines or essential medicines, wheat or sugar; India, in line with its capabilities, has been assisting all partner countries. India respects your priorities. It feels proud to be your development partner. Whether it's humanitarian assistance or your development, you can count India as a reliable partner. Our perspective is based on human values. Whether it’s digital technology or space technology; whether it's health security or food security; climate change or environmental conservation; we are with you in every way.”

He added: “Those whom we considered trustworthy, it turned out that they were not standing by our side in times of need. During these challenging times, an old saying has proven true: ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed’.” Modi further said: “We share your belief in multilateralism. We support a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. We respect the sovereignty and integrity of all countries.”

Announcing several other development, medical assistance measures, Modi said: “In the year 2022, we conducted a Jaipur Foot Camp in Fiji. In this camp, prosthetic limbs were provided free of cost to more than 600 people. Friends, the recipients of this gift feel as if they have received the gift of life. For the PIC region, we have decided to organise a Jaipur Foot camp in Papua New Guinea this year. Starting 2024, two such camps will be organised every year in the Pacific island countries.”

Hailing the role of India led by Modi, Papua New Guinea PM James Marape was quoted as saying: “We are victims of global power play... You (Modi) are the leader of the Global South. We will rally behind your (India) leadership at global forums.” Marape added: “The issue of the Ukraine war with Russia or the Russian war with Ukraine rather, we import the inflation to our own small economies. These nations sitting before you, Prime Minister, 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.”

Addressing Modi, the PNG PM said: “You are the voice that can offer our issues at the highest as advanced economies discuss matters relating to economy, commerce, trade and geopolitics. We ask you, using this moment where I am co-chairing and I speak for my small brother and sister nations of the Pacific… While our land may be small and the numbers may be small, our area and space in the Pacific are big. The world uses for trade, commerce and movement. 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.”

Marape added: “Our leaders will have a moment to speak to you. I want you, Prime Minister, for you to spend time hearing them. And hopefully, at the end of these dialogues, may India’s and the Pacific's relationship be entrenched and strengthened. But more important, the issues that are facing the Pacific island nations, especially smaller ones amongst us ahead in its right context and given support by you, the leader of the Global South.”

Addressing the leaders of the Pacific island nations, Modi said: “As I have said before, for me, you are not Small Island States, but Large Ocean Countries. It is this vast ocean that connects India with all of you. The Indian philosophy has always viewed the world as one family. The theme of our ongoing G-20 presidency this year, ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’, is also based on this ideology. This year, in January, we organised the Voice of Global South Summit, in which your representatives participated and shared their thoughts. I congratulate you for that. India considers it a responsibility to bring the issues, expectations and aspirations of the Global South to the attention of the world through the G-20 platform.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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