The Internet was shocked by the video of James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, bending down to touch the feet of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The incident occurred after the Indian Prime Minister landed in Port Moresby on his first visit to the country. This is also the first visit of any Indian Prime Minister.
Forum for Indo-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit
In November 2014, when the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi visited Fiji, the Forum for Indo-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) was launched.
The Indo-Pacific Cooperation Forum includes 14 island nations. These include Fiji, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Palau, Niue, Micronesia, Kiribati and the Cook Islands. They are located in the northeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean.
FIPIC Summit, 2023
The islands mentioned above are small in size. Furthermore, they have a huge distance from India. However, most of these island nations have exclusive economic zones.
Exclusive economic zone or exclusive economic zone is essentially the distance over which a coastal state has jurisdiction over the sea. Both non-living and living resources can be included in the jurisdiction. Typically, the exclusive economic zone lies 200 nautical miles beyond a country’s territorial waters.
According to the group’s website, India’s big focus is the Indian Ocean. Here, the country plays an important role and protects its commercial, strategic and other interests. In this sense, the Forum for Indo-Pacific Cooperation (FIPIC) is indeed expanding India’s participation in the Pacific regions. After the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to Sydney, Australia for a visit on May 23 and 24.
During this event, “developments in the Indo-Pacific region” were mentioned. Furthermore, “the vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific” was also discussed.
The Indian Prime Minister on Monday also made a statement at the FIPIC summit that “A friend in need is truly a friend”. He also told the leaders of fourteen countries that the people they trusted were not really with them in times of crisis. This statement is believed to refer to China.
On May 24, 2023, the Prime Minister of India will have a meeting with Prime Minister Albanese. Interactions with business leaders and CEOs from Australia will also take place.
As of March 22, 2021, $570 million is the total annual trade value between India and Pacific island countries. Trade in commodities such as pharmaceuticals, mineral fuels, sugar, ores and plastics is significant. Of these 14 countries, Papua New Guinea is the largest trading partner in terms of value.
FIPIC Summit- EXPLAINED
FIPIC 2023 is the third summit to be held.
It was in 2014 that the first FIPIC summit was held in Fiji’s capital Suva. At this summit, India announced countless development support initiatives. Many cooperation projects in the fields of trade, climate change, distance education, telemedicine, IT, economics, etc. were also discussed.
The second such summit, FIPIC-II was held in Jaipur in 2015. At this summit, India announced similar initiatives as the first summit. What is special this time is that India has called for a “reserved seat for small island developing States in the United Nations Security Council to be expanded and reformed in both categories”.
In 2019, the Indo-Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) Leadership Conference was held in New York on September 24. The meeting included leaders of not 14 but are 12 Pacific island countries.
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