The India-Pacific Islands Developing States (PSIDS) Leaders’ Meeting was held on 24th September 2019 in New York on the sidelines of the 74th UNGA. The meeting was attended by the Heads of delegation of Fiji, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Nauru, Republic of Palau, Independent State of Papua New Guinea, The Independent State of Samoa, Solomon Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu and Republic of Vanuatu.
India’s relationship with Pacific Island nations has deepened with the evolution of Act East Policy, resulting in the setting up of the action-oriented Forum for India–Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC). The first and second editions of the FIPIC took place in Fiji (2015) and Jaipur (2016). During the FIPIC Summits Prime Minister articulated India’s desire to be a close partner of the Pacific Island nations and its readiness to work closely to advance their developmental agenda. This is the first time Prime Minister has met the leaders of the PSIDS on the margins of UNGA in plurilateral format.
The Leaders’ deliberated on wide range of issues including sharing of development experiences for attainment of SDGs, enhancing cooperation in renewable energy, joining the newly launched Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, capacity building, implementation of projects under the India-UN Development Partnership Fund and a roadmap for future India-PSIDS cooperation.
PM Modi emphasized that India and the PSIDS have shared values and a shared future. He highlighted the need for development policies to be inclusive and sustainable to reduce inequality and contribute to empowerment and improvement of the quality of people’s lives. He said that India is equally committed to tackle the impact of climate change and supports efforts of the PSIDs to achieve their developmental goals through necessary developmental and technical assistance.
PM Modi underlined the reality of climate change and called for increasing the share of renewable energy in the total energy mix to mitigate many adverse effects of climate change. He also expressed India’s readiness to share its experiences in developing alternate energy. He expressed his satisfaction as many countries from the region have joined the International Solar Alliance and invited others to join this initiative. PM also invited Leaders of PSIDS to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
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) PM Modi announced allocation of US$ 12 million grant (US$ 1 million to each PSIDS) towards implementation of high impact developmental project in the area of their choice. In addition, a concessional Line of Credit of US$150 Million which can be availed by the PSIDS for undertaking solar, renewable energy and climate related projects based on each country’s requirement was announced.
PM Modi reaffirming his commitment for providing developmental assistance for capacity building proposed to depute technical experts to provide training and offered to organize specialized courses also under ITEC programme in priority areas identified by partner countries, including training of diplomats from Pacific Island nations at the Foreign Service Institute. In the health sector, PM offered to organize a Jaipur Foot Artificial Limb Fitment Camp in a Pacific regional hub under ‘India for Humanity’ programme.
To further enhance people-to-people contact, PM announced a Distinguished Visitors Programme under which eminent persons from these countries can visit India. India would also welcome the visit of a Parliamentarian delegation from the PICs to India. To continue High-Level engagement, PM extended an invitation to all the leaders for the 3rd FIPIC Summit to be held in Port Moresby in first half of 2020.
Leaders of PSIDS welcomed the initiatives proposed by PM Modi to strengthen engagement and cooperation between the two sides and reassured full support from their respective governments.