Prime Minister’s Address to the Fiji Parliament

Published By : Admin | November 19, 2014 | 16:43 IST

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Excellency Speaker Dr. Jiko Luveni, Excellency Prime Minister Bainimarama, Members of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji,

Nisan Bula and Namaste

Two months ago, Fijians voted in extraordinary numbers to elect their Parliament. Six months ago, Indians participated in the largest election in human history.

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Today, I stand here, grateful for this special gift – the honour to be among you, to speak to this new Parliament, in celebration of democracy and to reaffirm our friendship.

India is a nation of more than a billion; Fiji a nation of a million.We are located in different oceans. But, what unites today is our democracy, the diversity of our societies, our creed that all human beings are equal, and our commitment to the liberty, dignity and rights of every individual. What also links today is that we have women as Speakers of our two Parliaments!

You have done better than us. One in every seven members in this Parliament is a woman; in India, it is just one in nine. So, I hope we can match you the next time; and, I hope we can both do better in future.

People in Fiji have different histories, ethnicities, languages and religions. But, they stand together as one nation of Fijians, with one voice, one vision and one aspiration. In both nations, we have vested power in our people. Your Constitution begins with "We, the people of Fiji", Ours begins with the same simple words, "We the people of India" And, what a Constitution you have framed! It is a Constitution that only not only guarantees freedoms and rights the citizens, but also to ensure their basic needs and empower them. From the right to life, liberty, dignity, equality and freedom of religion, To the right to education, information, work, health, food and water To the rights of children and the disabled. This is a Constitution that reflects the will of an enlightened nation.

The journey to this milestone had its struggles and setbacks, but the road you have chosen has won you admiration around the world and the support of the people here.

Honorable Members,

Fiji is a shining example of small nations that can successfully pursue great ambitions, Because what makes a nation successful is not its size or its population, but its vision and its values.

Today, Fiji is a nation that has used its economic resources well. You have been a strong voice on behalf of the Pacific Islands and a hub of this region. You led the G 77 with vision and statesmanship. Your soldiers have served with outstanding professionalism in UN Peacekeeping Missions in some of the world`s most dangerous spots. And, you are playing an influential role in shaping the global dialogue on climate change.

There are many in India, who wish Vijay Singh wore the Indian colours on the golf course!

Honorable Members,

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For India, Fiji will always have a special place. The tide of history brought many from India to your shores. It has forged our ties of culture and kinship. But, our relationship today stands on a much broader of our shared values and our common interests as developing countries. And, now, together we were partners in making history.

You graciously hosted Indian scientists in Fiji for tracking our Mars Mission, Mangalyaan. It was the only mission in the world to succeed in the first attempt.

I convey today the gratitude of the people and the scientists of India. This simple yet profound act of cooperation reflects the boundless possibilities in our relationship, if we choose to seek them.

Our trade and investment ties have been modest. Our relationship in science, education and culture could be stronger. Yet, there are examples of our partnership that should inspire us – our cooperation in upgrading your sugar mills or the public-private partnership in the area of healthcare.

As we have collaborated in running hospitals here, we can also extend our cooperation in pharmaceuticals and traditional medicines.

As Fiji adjusts to the changing global markets, India is prepared to be your partner – In making your existing industry stronger and finding new opportunities for your youth. For countries like ours, village and small and medium scale industries are the source of enterprise and employment.

Today, I am pleased to announce a grant of 5 million U.S. dollars to strengthen and modernize Fiji`s village, small and medium industries. We will also provide a Line of Credit of 70 million dollars for a co-generation power plant at Rarav Sugar Mill. And, another Line of Credit of 5 million dollars for upgrading the sugar industry in Fiji.

Agriculture supports a majority of the population in India and Fiji. I offer our expertise and assistance in increasing productivity in the agriculture sector. As the largest producer of milk in the world, India can help develop your dairy industry, which can also contribute to your exports. In areas like fisheries, textiles and garments, and gems and jewellery, we can expand trade.

In this digital age, every nation can be part of the global information technology industry. And, it is a dream that youth around the world share. It is an industry that depends on ideas and skills. It offers a great path to prosperity. And, it has a light carbon footprint.

We were pleased to set up a centre of excellence in information technology here in Fiji. We are is prepared to work with you to build a Digitial Fiji and to equip your youth to integrate Fiji into the global IT network.

We will also deepen our cooperation in education and training and we will double the number of our scholarships.

Today, I propose that we work together to harness the potential of Space technology for governance, economic development, conservation, climate change and natural disasters.

We could work to make Fiji the hub for our regional collaboration in Space, just as India has done with ASEAN.

There are times when we think of each other as distant lands, separated by oceans and seven time zones.

But, think of the days when travel was difficult. That did not deter brave people from travelling over the seas in search of a new life. Distance, to me, is irrelevant in a world of fiber optic cables and satellite links. We are only as far away as the click of a mouse or the call button of a phone. In any case, a direct flight today can take you from Fiji to most places in India. And, I say this more to my people than to you.

Fijians have been steady in visiting India. We in India have not paid enough attention to this beautiful land of warm people and immense potential. This must change. We must make travel easier between our two countries. For this reason, I have taken a small step in extending visa on arrival to Fijians in India, as you have done for Indians. And, if you want to attract more Indians to enjoy the magnificence of your islands and the warmth of your hospitality, you should invite Bollywood to shoot their films in Fiji.

Honourable Members of Parliament,

We have spoken of vast opportunities, but we also share many common challenges. For you, climate change is not a matter of debate, but a basic question of existence.

India, too, is a nation of a long coastline and more than 1000 islands, a nation that is nurtured by monsoon rain and the Himalayan glaciers.

We, too, are facing the searing impact of climate change. And, we spend more than 6% of our GDP in adapting to its consequences. Now, each of us must shoulder our own responsibilities. We cannot side aside and take no action. Technology has made it possible.We don`t have to seek old pathways to prosperity.

In India, we have a comprehensive national plan and strategy to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. And, I have a deep personal commitment to it. And, we look forward to working with Fiji in areas such wind and solar energy. But, it is also equally important that the global community accepts its responsibility and implements its commitment. It should not become one in which the strong shift the burden on the others; or impose the responsibilities of their excesses on the choices that others make. It should not be an issue of economic advantage or trade competitive of one over the other.

The world had agreed on a beautiful balance of collective action – common but differentiated responsibilities. That should form the basis of continued action. This also means that the developed countries must fulfil their commitments for funding and technology transfer.

India has stood shoulder to shoulder with Fiji and the Small Islands Developing States is seeking a fair and urgent response from the international community for a sustainable future.

We also have shared stakes in a peaceful, cooperative and prosperous Asia and Pacific regions. Stretching from the Indian Ocean through continental Asia into Pacific, this is a region of enormous dynamism and opportunities, but also a region with many challenges.

Fiji is a leader in the region and a strong voice in the developing world. Together, we can also work for a future in the region, in which there is an equal place for all nations - big and small, developed and developing – and a climate of peace and tranquility.

I thank Prime Minister and Fiji for their leadership in hosting my meeting with the Pacific leaders later today.

Let us join hands to create an ocean of opportunity that stretches from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Sometimes our relations have been adrift.

Sometimes our relations have been adrift.

Let us chart a new course. Let us start a new era - When it does not take another 33 years for an Indian Prime Minister to visit Fiji. When Fijians and Indians work with each other from the comfort of familiarity and the ease that comes with the habit of regular partnership.

When we draw strength from the ties of history and the bonds of emotions; seek new purpose in our many shared interests; and seize our new opportunities.

Thank you Vinaka (Thank you). Dhanyawad.

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Srinagar Viksit Bharat Ambassadors Unite for 'Viksit Bharat, Viksit Kashmir'
April 20, 2024

Srinagar hosted a momentous gathering under the banner of the Viksit Bharat Ambassador or VBA 2024. Held at the prestigious Radisson Collection, the event served as a unique platform, bringing together diverse voices and perspectives to foster the nation's collective advancement towards development.

Graced by the esteemed presence of Union Minister Shri Hardeep Singh Puri as the Chief Guest, the event saw the attendance of over 400 distinguished members of society, representing influencers, industry stalwarts, environmentalists, and young minds, including first-time voters. Presidents of Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Kashmir Industrial Corporation, House Boat Owners Association, and members of the writers' association were also present.

The VBA 2024 meetup began with an interesting panel discussion on Viksit Kashmir, which focused on the symbiotic relationship between industry growth and sustainable development. This was followed by an interactive session by Minister Puri, who engaged with the attendees through an engaging presentation. Another event highlight was the live doodle capture by a local artist of the discussions.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri discussed how India has changed in the last decade. He said India is on track to become one of the world's top three economies, surpassing Germany and Japan soon.

 

"The country is set to surpass Germany and Japan and will become the world's third-largest economy by 2027-28," he said.

 

According to official estimates, India's economy is projected to reach a remarkable $40 trillion by 2040. Presently, the economy stands at approximately $3.5 trillion.

He also stressed that India's progress is incomplete without a developed Kashmir.

 

"Bharat cannot be Viksit without a Viksit Kashmir," he said.

Hardeep Puri reflected on India's economic journey, noting that in the 1700s, India contributed a significant 25% to the global GDP. However, as experts documented, this figure gradually dwindled to a mere 2% by 1947.

 

He highlighted how India, once renowned as the 'sone ki chidiya' (golden bird), lost its economic strength during British colonial rule and continued to struggle even after gaining independence, remaining categorized under the 'Fragile Five' until 2014.

 

Puri emphasized that the true shift in India's economic trajectory commenced under the Modi government. Over the past decade, the nation has ascended from among the top 11 economies to ranking among the top 5 globally.

The Union Minister also encouraged everyone to participate in the Viksit Bharat 2047 mission, emphasizing that achieving this dream requires the active engagement and coordination of all "ambassadors" of change.

He highlighted India's rapid progress in metro network development, stating that the operational metro network spans approximately 950 kilometres. He expressed confidence that within the next 2-3 years, India's metro network will expand to become the second-largest globally, surpassing that of the United States.

 

Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, he mentioned that through the Smart project, over 68 projects totalling Rs 6,800 crores were conceptualized, with Rs 3,200 crores worth of projects already completed.

 

He further stated that Jammu and Kashmir possesses more potential than Switzerland but has faced setbacks due to man-made crises. He emphasized the Modi government's dedication to the comprehensive development of the region.

The minister highlighted a significant government policy shift from women-centred to women-led development. Drawing from his extensive experience as a diplomat spanning 39 years, he shared that when a country transitions to women-led development, there is typically a substantial GDP increase of 20-30%. 

He mentioned that the government is actively pursuing this objective, citing examples such as the Awas Yojana, where houses are registered in the names of women household members, and the implementation of 33% reservation for women in elected bodies as part of this broader mission. 

He also provided insight into the transformative impact of the Modi government's welfare policies on people's lives. He highlighted the Ujjwala Yojana, noting that 32 crore individuals have received LPG cylinders, a significant increase from the 14 crore connections in 2014. Additionally, he mentioned the expansion of the gas pipeline network, which has grown from 14,000 km to over 20,000 km over the past ten years.

The Vision of Viksit Bharat: 140 crore dreams, 1 purpose 

The Viksit Bharat Ambassador movement aims to encourage citizens to take responsibility for contributing to India's development. VBA meet-ups and events are being organized in various parts of the country to achieve this goal. These events provide a platform for participants to engage in constructive discussions, exchange ideas, and explore practical strategies for contributing to the movement.

Join the movement on the NaMo App: https://www.narendramodi.in/ViksitBharatAmbassador

The NaMo App: Bridging the Gap

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's app, the NaMo App, is a digital bridge that empowers citizens to participate in the Viksit Bharat Ambassador movement. The NaMo App serves as a one-stop platform for individuals to:

Join the cause: Sign up and become a Viksit Bharat Ambassador and make 10 other people

Amplify Development Stories: Access updates, news, and resources related to the movement.

Create/Join Events: Create and discover local events, meet-ups, and volunteer opportunities.

Connect/Network: Find and interact with like-minded individuals who share the vision of a developed India.

The 'VBA Event' section in the 'Onground Tasks' tab of the 'Volunteer Module' of the NaMo App allows users to stay updated with the ongoing VBA events.