On February 16, Fiji Prime Minister (PM) Sitiveni Rabuka said India stood by his country in times of great need and will always be a special friend and trusted partner.
In a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on February 16, the Fiji Prime Minister said, “I’m pleased to say that India will always be a special friend and trusted partner to Fiji”.
The Fijian PM said, “Together we’ve built a robust multifaceted partnership which covers cooperation in all major areas of nation-building. India has stood by us in times of great need. We’re grateful to GoI for supporting us through the provision of life-saving vaccines and humanitarian assistance”.
He appreciated PM Modi and the Indian Government for their support in co-hosting the 12th World Hindi conference in Fiji.
“Fiji appreciates India’s commitment towards the development of our pacific region through collective priorities. We are more resolved now than ever to build a strong and sustainable future for families in Fiji, the Pacific and beyond,” he said.
He added: “On behalf of Govt of Fiji, I thank the Government of India for realising this important cooperation. I’m confident that we will witness many more such initiatives unfolding through the deepening of our cooperation.”
The Prime Minister of Fiji continued by stating that many citizens of his nation travel to India for education and medical care. On the MoU on visa exemption between India and Fiji, the PM said: “We will certainly benefit, though the scale may differ.”
On whether China came up in his talks with EAM Jaishankar, Rabuka said, “We thought it was bad manners to talk about somebody who is not in the building. We spoke about our own cooperation and we’re very fortunate to have such a great power and economy talking to us.”
The Fijian PM said, “We have great old friends and there is no need to look for new friends. There are no really new friends in this region. We have been friends with India, and we have been friends with China. We’ll continue our relationship”.
On February 16, Jaishankar launched the ‘Solarisation of Residences of Pacific Heads of State Project’ in the presence of Fijian President Ratu Wiliame Maivalili Katonivere in Suva.
“Pleased to be call on HE Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, President of Fiji in State House in Suva. Jointly inaugurated the Solarization of the State House. This is the first of a series that India is supporting in the Pacific Islands,” tweeted Jaishankar.
The 12th Vishwa Hindi Sammelan is being held in Fiji from February 15 to 17. It is being co-hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Fiji Government.