PM O’Neill looks to Greater India Engagement with Pacific Islands
  Approved for Release: 22 August 2015
Office of the Prime Minister
Papua New Guinea
  Speaking at the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Co-operation (FIPIC) in Jaipur city, he said India’s outreach to Pacific Islands Leaders, led by Prime Minster Modi, is the first of its kind by an Indian leader or government.
  “I want to assure you that India has true friends in the Pacific and we appreciate the interest you show in our region,” PM O’Neill said at the Leaders’ meeting.
  “We will foster mutual understanding and appreciation of the challenges faced by both Pacific Island and Indian communities. 
  “We hope that India, as a growing global economic power will appreciate the aspirations of the Pacific people and continue to work with our respective Governments.”
  The Prime Minister said Pacific island nations face many challenges that include climate change, natural disasters and improving healthcare and education, and this provides a basis for working together. “On climate change, between Asia and the Pacific we must have a collective voice,” PM O’Neill said to counterpart Leaders. 
  “We must seek global action to deal with the impact of climate change on our communities.“Natural disasters are also an ongoing concern and we have experienced devastating tropical storms and flooding this year around the Pacific.“Now we are facing hardship from a strong el Niño weather pattern
  “Disaster management will be an important issue for discussion when our island nations meet in Port Moresby next month for the Pacific Islands’ Forum Leaders’ Meeting.”
  The Prime Minister said as a world leader in the development of cutting-edge technologies, it is important that India engage with the Pacific to expand the use of emerging IT.
  “We are pleased that the Indian Government is prepared to share information technology knowledge and experience with its development partners.
  “The Indian Government’s initiative for the Pan Pacific e-Network Project is indeed timely for Pacific Islands countries.
  “Through improved connectivity and coordination, services such as tele-education and tele-medicine can reach remote communities.”
  Finally, the Prime Minister took note of the successful marketing campaigns that have been undertaken to promote trade and investment in India.
  “We have seen the Indian Government’s campaign to ‘Make in India,’ alongside initiatives such as ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India.’  These successful programs have created awareness of the value India has to offer the global business community.
  “Perhaps there is scope for island nations to learn from India, to work together to develop a Made in the Pacific Islands branding and identity program.”
  The FIPIC took place in Delhi and Jaipur, during August 19-21, and was attended by Leaders, Ministers and delegates from India and 14 Pacific Islands nations.
   
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