THE FIPIC SUMMIT: PM UNDERLINES IMPORTANCE OF A FREE & OPEN INDO PACIFIC
What does FIPIC stand for?
Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC).
What is the purpose of FIPIC?
Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation (FIPIC) is a multinational grouping for cooperation between India and 14 Pacific Islands nations.
Which are the 14 island nations?
It includes 14 islands named– Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
When & where was the first FIPIC summit held?
All Head of state/head of government of the above countries met in Suva, Fiji in November 2014 for the first time where the annual summit was conceptualised.
What is the significance of FIPIC for India?
- The FIPIC initiative marks a serious effort to expand India’s engagement in the Pacific region.
- The FIPIC initiative is a vital component of our Act East Policy.
- A major part of India’s engagement with these countries is through development assistance under South-South Cooperation, mainly in capacity building (training, scholarships, grant-in-aid and loan assistance) and community development
- Modi’s visit to Papua New Guinea highlights the growing strategic significance of the Pacific Island nations that has also received attention from China which signed last year a security agreement with the Solomon Islands.
- In 2015, FIPIC Trade Office at Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) to promote Trade & Investment opportunities between India & Pacific Island Countries.
Indian PM’s speech highlights:
- Small Island nations of the Pacific Ocean are in fact “large ocean states”
- Addressing the opening session of the FIPIC-3 summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Mr. Modi focused on India’s commitment to assist the development goals of the member countries of FIPIC and said New Delhi will continue to help the Pacific island states in “every possible” way.
- In the meanwhile, the world dealt with the COVID pandemic and several other global challenges. Climate change, natural calamities, poverty and famine already existed but now new challenges are emerging as supply chains of food, fuel fertiliser and pharma are facing hurdles. Those we thought were reliable, we came to know they were not standing with us. In this time of difficulty, we are reminded of the old saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed.
- From vaccines to medicines, wheat and sugar, India has supplied the countries that required these items. For me, you are large ocean countries and not small island nations. Your ocean connects India with you.
Concerns of the Pacific Island Countries:
- We suffered as a result of the big nations at play in terms of geopolitics and power struggle,” said Mr. Marape who is the co-chair of the FIPIC-3 Summit.
- “We are victims of global power play and we want you to be an advocate for us and sit in those meetings,” said Mr. Marape. Mr. Marape said the small size of the island nations of the Pacific Ocean region should not overshadow the fact that the islands have large space in the ocean. Mr. Modi assured the FIPIC members of India’s support in the field of sustainable development, science and technology and space application.