Modi receives highest civilian awards of Papua New Guinea and Fiji
Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea): In a special ceremony at the Government House, Sir Bob Dadae, Governor-General of Papua New Guinea conferred Prime Minister Modi with the ‘Grand Companion of the Order of Logohu’ (GCL). This is the highest civilian award of PNG and recipients of the award are titled “Chief”.
Modi was also conferred with Fiji’s highest honour Companion of the Order by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Sitiveni Rabuka. He was also accorded the Ebakl Award by President Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. of the Republic of Palau.
Modi was here today to attend the 3rd Summit of the Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC). At the Summit, he announced projects to boost relations with the Pacific Island Countries (PIC). To boost healthcare in the Pacific region, he said India will provide sea ambulances to all 14 Pacific Island countries. It will also assist in setting up dialysis units in all these island nations, he added.
Besides, India will set up a super-speciality cardiology hospital in Fiji, and establish a 24×7 emergency helpline will be established for the citizens of Fiji.
The Indian Prime Minister also announced that for the Pacific Island Countries (PIC) region, India will organize a Jaipur Foot camp in Papua New Guinea (PNG) this year. Starting from 2024, two such camps will be organized every year in the Pacific Island Countries, he said. He recalled that a Jaipur Foot Camp was organized by India in Fiji in 2022 where 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,” he told the audience.
Modi also proposed to introduce Jan Aushadhi Centers, and yoga centres in these countries. He further said India will introduce a project for the development of the SME sector in every Pacific Island country. Under this scheme, machinery and technology supplies will be provided, and capacity-building programs will be conducted to enhance capabilities. For capacity building, he announced the “Sagar Amrut Scholarship” scheme for the Pacific Island countries today. Under this program, 1000 ITEC training opportunities will be provided in the next five years. He interacted with the alumni of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) courses from across the Pacific Island Countries. They included senior government officials, leading professionals and community leaders who received training in India under ITEC. Following the last FIPIC Summit in 2015, India has trained close to 1000 officials from all countries in this region.
Noting at the Summit that the project to convert the Pacific Island Heads of State Residences to solar-powered ones was well-received by these nations, Modi said “We will now be converting at least one government building into solar-powered building, in all the FIPIC countries”. Modi also “pledged” to provide desalination units for the people of every Pacific Island country to address the water scarcity issue there.
Meanwhile, during his meeting with James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea here on the sidelines of the FIPIC summit, both leaders took stock of their bilateral relations and discussed ways and means to further strengthen their partnership across various sectors, including trade and investment, health, capacity building and skill development and Information Technology. They also discussed issues related to climate action and promoting people-to-people ties.
Modi and Marape also launched a translation of the Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural’ to the Tok Pisin language of PNG. The translated book is co-authored by linguist Subha Sasindran and Sasindran Muthuvel, Governor of West New Britain Province of Papua New Guinea. The book has a foreword by Prime Minister Marape.
Prime Minister Modi today also held a meeting with the Prime Minister of New Zealand Chris Hipkins on the sidelines of the Summit This was the first interaction between the two Prime Ministers and they discussed ongoing bilateral cooperation initiatives and agreed to expand cooperation in various sectors including trade and commerce, education, information technology, tourism, culture, sports and people to people ties.
Later in the day, Modi departed from PNG for Sydney.
– global bihari bureau