Thank you very much for your thoughts and recommendations on our global challenges and our bilateral cooperation. Your perspectives are very important to us.
Let me reassure you that we will remain very sensitive to your concerns in international forums. We would also like to shape our bilateral cooperation in accordance with your needs and priorities.
Let me share my thoughts with you on a few global issues and propose a few initiatives for our cooperation.
Climate change is clearly a pressing concern for all. Combating it is India’s national priority. We make this choice with the natural instinct of our heritage and culture. But, we also do this in our enlightened self-interest and with a commitment to the future of our planet.
That is why we have set a target of additional capacity of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. National action will succeed only through a strong international partnership. As much as we speak of goals and emission reductions, we should focus equally on access to affordable technology and adequate finance that makes transition to clean energy natural and easy. Otherwise, experience shows that targets will remain difficult dreams. We must equally seek a global commitment to support adaptation to the growing impact of climate change on our lives and economy.
India will work with you and others for a comprehensive, balanced and fair outcome at COP 21 in Paris.
Your interests will have the strength of our voice.
As I mentioned in my opening remarks, reforms of the UN Security Council is in global interest and vital for a more inclusive and equitable world.
As I said before, we should quickly adopt the draft presented by the President of the General Assembly as the negotiating text and conclude negotiations during the 70th Session of the General Assembly. Excellencies,
As I said, you are large ocean states. We look forward to working with you to realise the full potential of our oceans in a sustainable manner.
We would be pleased to establish an Institute for Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Research in the region and a network of marine biology research stations in various island nations. We could begin immediately with research collaboration and capacity building with institutions in India.
We also propose to hold an International Conference on “Ocean economy and Pacific Island Countries” in New Delhi in 2016. We will be delighted to host officials and independent experts of all 14 Pacific Island Countries.
Indian Navy has provided direct support and capacity building to island states in Indian Ocean, especially for coastal surveillance and hydrographic surveys. This has helped them get a better understanding of their maritime zone and strengthen security of their EEZs. We would be prepared to extend this assistance to our Pacific Island partners.
We also look forward to goodwill visits by Indian Navy to Pacific Islands. The ships could also extend support in areas like healthcare through medical camps on the islands.
Not only is our future closely linked to Space and Oceans, there is also a close relationship between the two.
Space assets and technology can help us in inventory of land and water resources; fish zoning; forest resources management; coastal and ocean studies; weather and climate change; and, disaster management support.
We can assist in establishing a ‘Space Technology Applications Centre’ in any one of the Pacific Island Countries for the entire region and enhance our support for training in space applications, including through customized courses.
Fiji’s support was invaluable for our Mars Mission. We hope to continue receiving support from Pacific Islands for Telemetry, Tracking and Command for our missions in the future.
We are all increasingly vulnerable to natural disasters, but we can reduce their human impact.
India will be pleased to create capacity in Island States to deal with natural disasters, including through human resource development and application of space technology for early warning system and incident response.
Human resource development has been a key area of cooperation. There is no other form of cooperation that is as effective in building a nation’s future.
For the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation training programme, Fiji will get 110 slots, and the number of slots for the other 13 countries will be doubled from 119 to 238.
In addition, we will offer two scholarships for college education in India to each of the 13 countries that do not receive them yet, while continuing with the 33 scholarships presently offered to Fiji.
We will expand our training courses for Pacific Island diplomats and, in addition, offer a two-week business management course at the globally renowned Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru.
During the last three years, India has trained 43 rural women from 8 island countries as solar engineers. We now commit to train 70 women solar engineers and to provide solar electrification to 2,800 houses - 200 houses in each Pacific Island Country. This will save kerosene worth about a million US dollars and provide livelihood to women.
I am pleased to announce that we will establish at least one information technology laboratory in each Pacific Island country. This will not only improve local IT infrastructure, it will enable us to fulfill our commitment to provide tele-medicine and tele-education to the people.
We are prepared to do more to strengthen our trade. In addition to the FIPIC Trade Office in New Delhi, we can support the development of micro, small and medium enterprises and will extend support for purchase of machinery for coconut processing and enhancing rice and sugarcane yields.
We will also improve market access for Small Islands Developing States. We will focus on developing capacity for health services in your countries.
Supply of generic drugs from India is presently routed through third countries and are, therefore, very expensive. We are ready to set up a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant and distribution centre in the Pacific Island region and are pleased to offer a Line of Credit for this project.
Human bonds are the strongest foundation for enduring relations between nations.
Last year, we had announced electronic visas for Pacific Island countries. I am pleased to announce that we have decided to provide gratis visa to the nationals of Pacific Island countries.
Prasar Bharti, India’s national broadcaster is happy to gift television and radio programmes on culture, entertainment, news, education, etc., in English and Hindi to your countries. Prasar Bharati also proposes to organise a specialised training programme over the next few months for broadcasters from the Pacific Island Countries.
We will also support creation of India Centres through e-libraries and supply books to libraries at universities in your countries.
In the short time together, we have made concrete progress. Together, we are highlighting the value of relationships, based on goodwill, respect and concern for each other. This partnership demonstrates that geography is no barrier to productive partnerships of convergent interests and shared challenges. This partnership will be of great relevance to all of us in the 21st century.
Your support to this partnership means a lot to India. We see this as a partnership of equals, driven by similar aspirations, in which we will all be more successful by being together.
It stems from our belief in VasudhaivaKutumbakam – the world is one– and from the conviction that in sharing what we have, we enrich each other and make this world a better place.
It is a great honour to have you with us. I hope you have had an enjoyable visit to India. We hope that this would inspire you to visit us more often.