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Speech by External Affairs Minister at Welcome Reception for FIPIC Summit (August 19, 2015)

August 19, 2015

Excellencies,
Leaders of Delegations,
My Colleagues, Ministers in the Government of India
Hon’ble Members of Parliament,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies & Gentlemen,


On behalf of the Prime Minister of India, and on my own behalf, I extend a warm welcome to India to all the distinguished delegates. India is delighted and honored to host the 2nd Summit of the Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC).

India has always given great importance to the development of our relations with the pacific island countries. In a spirit of solidarity and South- South cooperation, India has for long partnered in the development efforts of the Pacific Island countries by sharing its experience and expertise as well as intellectual, financial and technological resources. It is our endeavor to further strengthen and deepen this partnership with Pacific Islands countries. With this objective in mind, during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Suva in Fiji in November last year, the FIPIC was formed and its first meeting was held. The meeting was a great success and it has provided our leaders, at the highest level, a platform to enhance our engagement and to share ideas. India also announced a number of new initiatives and mutually beneficial cooperation programmes during the Suva Summit last year. These include increase in the Grant-in-aid to Pacific Islands countries from US$ 125,000 to US $ 200,000 annually, to cater to the key developmental priorities of Pacific Island countries. Over time, India has substantially increased the number of ITEC slots and ICCR scholarships and we hope that the training would have been useful for those who have availed these slots and scholarships. We have also begun the training of diplomats from Pacific Island countries. India has also deputed various experts in your countries to share its expertise in economic and scientific fields. A number of social sector initiatives have been undertaken by Government of India in your countries to empower the people at grass root level.

Excellencies,

India understands that climate change is one of the imminent threats that your countries are facing. India, like Pacific Island countries, is also at the forefront of facing the consequences of adverse impact of climate change. We have started pricing carbon, incentivizing afforestation and greatly expanding the use of low carbon and renewable technologies and improving energy efficiency. India also stands ready to share its expertise and technologies for mitigation and adaptation to Climate Change like renewable energy with your countries. India also urges the Pacific Island countries to forge a global partnership to harness technology, innovation and finance to put affordable, clean and renewable energy within the reach of our countries.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for the support and cooperation to India in UN for declaring 21st June as "International Day of Yoga”. India appreciates and is grateful to Pacific Island countries for their expression of support for India’s quest to become the Permanent Member in the expanded United Nations Security Council and hopes for continued support in the future as well.

Excellencies,

We all will agree that frequent interaction at the highest level gives us an opportunity to exchange views on various bilateral and multilateral issues and nourishes our relations. India is a country rich in diversity, color, landscapes, culture and history. I do hope you will enjoy your short stay with us during this visit. I also hope that our interaction at the 2nd Summit comes up to everyone’s expectation and gives a further impetus to our relations. Let me welcome you once again to India and wish you success for your stay, as well as deliberations at the summit.

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