Port Moresby – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday unveiled a 12-point development plan for the Pacific Island nations in a range of areas including healthcare, renewable energy and cyber-security as he announced that India is ready to share its capabilities with the region “without any hesitation”.
Modi made the announcements on the new initiatives at the FIPIC (Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation) summit held at Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.
“India respects your priorities. It feels proud to be your development partner. Whether it’s humanitarian assistance or your development, you can count India as a reliable partner. Our perspective is based on human values,” he said.
Announcing the development plan, Modi said India has decided to establish a super-specialty cardiology hospital in Fiji and will assist in setting up dialysis units in all the 14 Pacific island countries.
He also announced that sea ambulances will be provided to all the 14 Pacific island countries.
“To boost healthcare in the Pacific region, we have decided to establish a super-specialty cardiology hospital in Fiji. This hospital will be equipped with trained staff, modern facilities, and infrastructure, and it will serve as a lifeline for the entire region,” Modi said.
He said the Indian government will bear the full cost of this mega greenfield project.
The prime minister also proposed to bring similar Jan Aushadhi Centers to the region.
“Through the Jan Aushadhi Scheme in India, more than 1800 high-quality generic medicines are being provided to people at affordable prices. For example, the anti-diabetes medication is available at up to 90 per cent lower cost at Jan Aushadhi Centers as compared to the market prices,” he said.
“Other medicines are also available at a discounted price, ranging from 60 per cent to 90 per cent of the market cost. I propose bringing similar Jan Aushadhi Centers to your countries,” he said.
He further added: “We propose establishing yoga centers in your countries to promote its benefits.” The prime minister announced that the Centre of Excellence for IT in Papua New Guinea will be upgraded and transformed into a “Regional Information Technology and Cybersecurity Hub.” “A 24×7 emergency helpline will be established for the citizens of Fiji, and we would be delighted to help set up a similar facility in all the PIC (Pacific Island Countries),” he said.
Modi also announced a project for the development of the SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) sector in every Pacific Island country.
“Under this scheme, machinery and technology supplies will be provided, and capacity-building programs will be conducted to enhance capabilities,” he said.
“The project to convert the Pacific Island Heads of State Residences to solar powered ones, was well-received by you all. We will now be converting at least one government building into a solar powered building, in all the FIPIC countries,” he added.
To address the water scarcity issue, Modi also pledged to provide desalination units for the people of every Pacific Island country.
The prime minister also announced that 1,000 ITEC training opportunities will be provided in the next five years under the “Sagar Amrut Scholarship” scheme for the Pacific Island countries.
Modi said India has decided to organise a Jaipur foot camp in Papua New Guinea this year. The prosthetic limbs are offered in Jaipur foot camps.
“Starting from 2024, two such camps will be organized every year in the Pacific island countries,” Modi said.
India’s engagement with the 14 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) is part of New Delhi’s Act East Policy.
A major part of India’s engagement with PICs is through development assistance under South-South Cooperation that is mainly in the form of capacity building and community development projects.
A major initiative launched under the rubric of the Act East Policy for the PICs is the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC). Prime Minister Modi hosted the first FIPIC summit in Suva on November 19, 2014 during his visit to Fiji.
The second FIPIC summit was held in Jaipur on August 21 again with all 14 PICs taking part.
In that summit, India announced initiatives across a wide array of areas to assist the PICs in facing challenges and achieving aspirations for the well-being and development of its peoples.