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India- Papua New Guinea Joint Statement during the State Visit of President to Papua New Guinea

April 29, 2016

The Honorable President of the Republic of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, paid a two day State Visit to Papua New Guinea from 28- 29 April 2016, at the invitation of the Grand Chief, His Excellency Sir Michael Ogio, GCL GCMG, KSt.J., Governor General of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

His Excellency the Governor General received President Pranab Mukherjee at Government House. Discussions between the two leaders were marked by warmth and a shared desire to enhance the ties of friendship and cooperation that define the relationship between the two countries and their peoples.

During the talks, Minister for Sports, National Events and APEC Hon'ble Justin Tkatchenko, Governor of West New Britain Province Hon'ble Sasindran Muthuvel, Acting Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. William Dihm, Papua New Guinea's High Commissioner to Republic of India H. E. Mr. Tarcisius Eri were present.

BILATERAL RELATIONS

The Governor General, Sir Michael Ogio and President Pranab Mukherjee exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Both leaders underlined the close and friendly bilateral ties, which are deep rooted in history and which hold great promise for the future. The wide ranging and constructive discussions were held in a most cordial atmosphere.

The Governor General, Grand Chief Sir Michael Ogio, reiterated his Government's support for India's candidature for Permanent Membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), especially in light of the constructive role played by India in different multilateral fora and in recognition of India's continuous support for the issues that are central to the concerns of Small Island Developing States.

Both leaders expressed confidence that Papua New Guinea with its abundant natural resources and India with its managerial and technical expertise presented complementarities which could be built upon for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

They recognized that there exists great synergy and potential for increased cooperation between the two countries. Papua New Guinea looks forward to greater investments and larger trade volumes with India. Both sides agreed to expedite the conclusion of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) to facilitate investments. Both leaders agreed to enhance bilateral relations in the economic, security, defence, education and health sectors.

Both leaders further agreed to establish a mechanism for regular consultations between the Foreign Ministries of both countries aimed at diversifying and further strengthening bilateral cooperation in areas of shared interest.

In order to promote greater mutual understanding and to strengthen people-to-people contacts, and India has extended visa-on-arrival facility for the nationals of all Pacific Island Countries with effect from 2015. In a gesture of reciprocity, the Government of Papua New Guinea announced the facility of visa on arrival for Indian tourists travelling to Papua New Guinea. Both leaders also witnessed signing of the Memorandums of Understanding on Agriculture Research Cooperation between University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

The two sides finalised and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for broad ranging cooperation in the Health sector.

An MOU for an Indian line of credit of US$ 100 million for development of infrastructure in PNG was also signed during the visit.

Both leaders welcomed the signing of another MoU under which India will set up a Centre of Excellence in Information Technology in Papua New Guinea.

The Honorable President of India announced that his Government would provide retro-viral drugs and equipment for the treatment of 20,000 HIV patients in Papua New Guinea for one year. In response to this gesture of goodwill, the Governor General thanked the President of India on behalf of the people of Papua New Guinea.

FORUM FOR INDIA AND PACIFIC ISLANDS COOPERATION (FIPIC)


The leaders agreed that the Forum for India and Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit has been highly successful in strengthening the interaction between India and the Pacific region. They welcomed the new intiatives and expressed satisfaction at the progress so far.

MARITIME SECURITY

Both sides discussed bilateral cooperation in the area of maritime security. Papua New Guinea welcomed India's offer of a coastal surveillance radar system and coast guard patrol vessels .

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Both sides further agreed to promote bilateral collaboration in disaster management. In this regard, both leaders noted the endorsement by the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warnings Systems (RIMES) Council in July 2015 of the establishment of the RIMES Sub-Regional Hub for monitoring earthquake/tsunami and extreme weather patterns and climatic conditions in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Region in Papua New Guinea with support from the Government of India.

TERRORISM


The two leaders unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and called upon all states to reject the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

Both leaders agreed to cooperate in building an international consensus against support and financing of terrorist organisations. The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in multilateral fora in combating terrorism in all its manifestations and for the early adoption of India's proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.

HUMAN RESOURCES AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

The Honourable President reiterated India's commitment to assist Papua New Guinea in capacity building and human resource development. India also offered to share its advanced techniques and technologies in the agriculture sector. In this connection, the leaders welcomed the MoU between the Indian Council for Agricultural Research and the Papua New Guinea University of Technology, Lae.

ENERGY SECURITY


Keeping in view India's desire to achieve energy security, Papua New Guinea agreed to develop new avenues of cooperation with India in exploration and development of Papua New Guinea's vast oil and gas resources through joint ventures and Indian public and private sector investment in new and existing projects.

Papua New Guinea welcomed the Government of India's initiative to mobilise solar rich resource countries that lie between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn through the International Solar Alliance, which was launched in Paris on the margins of COP21 last November.The Governor General of Papua New Guinea reaffirmed Papua New Guinea's support and expressed its desire to be a founding member of the International Solar Alliance.

CONCLUSION

The leaders agreed that the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea has helped in strengthening and deepening the bilateral relationship and opened new avenues and sectors of cooperation for the benefit of the peoples of both countries.

President Pranab Mukherjee expressed his sincere gratitude to H.E. Sir Michael Ogio for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality accorded to him and his delegation. He invited the Governor General and the Prime Minister to visit India at a mutually convenient date. The invitations were accepted.

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