The Indian PM will be visiting Papua New Guinea on 21st – 22nd May. The FIPIC Summit will bolster India’s ties with Pacific Island nations.
Papua New Guinea will be hosting the 3rd Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Port Moresby. This upcoming summit is scheduled to be held on 22nd May 2023. The major focus of PM Modi’s visit will be on enhancing economic, diplomatic, and strategic cooperation with island nations.
FIPIC as a multilateral organization was started in 2014 in Suva, Fiji to establish cooperation between India and 14 Island countries including Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Marshall Islands, Micronesia Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Cook Islands. The second FIPIC Summit was held in Jaipur, India in 2015. The very purpose and vision of this grouping are to expand and enhance India’s engagement with Pacific countries.
There are some other objectives of this forum such as promoting and facilitating cooperation and meeting between the businessperson from both regions, providing important information and support to businesspeople of both sides about chances of trade and investment, and interchange of business deputation between both sides.
Apart from the summit, this visit will be focused on improving bilateral ties with Papua New Guinea, interaction with the Indian diaspora there, enhancing cooperation in trade and investment, and cultural exchanges between both countries. It is expected that various MOU will be signed vis a vis Micro Small and Medium Enterprises and easing travel restrictions.
This Visit will be a significant one as recently Prime Minister of Fiji has officially issued an apology to Indo-Fijians for what happened in 1987. US President Joe Biden canceled his visit to Papua New Guinea yesterday to focus on talks dealing with the debt crisis. He was expected to visit the country later this month.
Why this visit to Papua New Guinea is significant for India?
For the longest time, India has not stretched itself to the Pacific region India has only two residence missions in the Pacific region. But the significance of the region on the world map has prompted India to go beyond the region of the Indian Ocean.
As the Pacific region covers 20% of the planet and several crucial trade routes are also present in this region. So, cooperation with Pacific Island countries will help India strategically. There are 14 countries in this region, and all these are small island nations but they hold various strategic, and economic importance and they all hold 14 votes in United Nations. Good cooperation with these countries can help India in gaining their votes on various important resolutions in United Nations.
Over the past twenty years, China’s influence in the Pacific region has been continuously growing as China has invested a lot in the region. China has launched various projects in different-different arenas in countries like Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Island, Fiji, Tonga, and Micronesia. So, to counter China’s increasing influence in the region India must engage with countries of the Pacific island region multilaterally.
It is India’s Indo-Pacific Policy to increase its foothold and dialogue in the Pacific region as well. It does not matter whether India is a Pacific country or not, what matters the most is India’s cooperation and engagement with the countries of this region. This Visit will be very crucial for India as a major economic power on the global stage. This visit will give a boost to India’s ties with Pacific island countries.