India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the first half of 2020, in New York, at the 74th UN General Assembly, extended an invitation to all the Pacific island leaders to attend the third Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Port Moresby.

Modi reiterated that India’s relationship with the Pacific island nations deepened with the establishment of the FIPIC.

The first and second FIPIC meetings took place in Fiji (2015) and Jaipur in 2016.

The recent meeting between Prime Minister Modi and the leaders of the India-Pacific Islands Developing States (PSIDS) in New York (2019) was with a view to build a close partnership with the Pacific island nations and work closely to advance mutually beneficial developmental goals.

India’s outreach to the Pacific is being shaped by various factors,” Indian Government officials told the Post-Courier.

“The role of other regional powers such as China, Japan and the United States have raised the strategic and economic significance of the region ––the Pacific islands are home to the Indian diaspora, where its geographical location, at the centre of important sea routes of trade, makes it crucial for India to deepen its engagement here.”

At the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings in New York, Modi announced the allocation of U$12 million grant (U$1 million to each PSIDS) towards the implementation of high impact developmental projects in areas of their choice.

He also announced a concessional line of credit of U$150 million, which Pacific island countries were told could be availed by the PSIDS for undertaking solar, renewable energy and climate related projects based on each country’s requirement.

Modi’s invitation aimed to continue this high-level engagement and keep the momentum going.

But because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 that swept the world and affected its economies badly, the meeting was postponed and will now be held on 22 May, 2023, in Port Moresby.

“In the spirit of his fundamental Mantra “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas (together with all, for the development of all and with the trust of all),Modi announced the allocation of US$12 million grant (US$ 1 million to each PSIDS) towards implementation of high impact developmental projects in the area of their choice,” he said.

Modi also reaffirmed his commitment to offer development assistance for capacity building proposed to depute technical experts to provide training and offered to organise specialised courses also under ITEC program in priority areas identified by partner countries – including training diplomats from the Pacific Island nations at the Foreign Service Institute. In the health sector, Modi offered to organise a Jaipur foot artificial limb fitment camp in a Pacific regional hub under the ‘India for humanity’ program.

“To further enhance people-to-people contact, Modi announced a distinguished visitors program under which eminent persons from these countries can visit India.”