Pacific Diplomacy: President’s visit galvanizes India’s ties with Papua New Guinea

Pranab in PNG

With an emphasis on the need for India to work as a reliable partner with Papua New Guinea, President Pranab Mukherjee, on a visit to the largest Pacific island nation, said that it was essential to achieve peace and security, prosperity and sustainable development. Mr Mukherjee is on a two-nation visit to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand from April 28 to May 2.

“Both our nations are bound by our common experience of colonial rule. Since independence, we have charted individual paths and traversed many hurdles to achieve economic progress”, Mr Mukherjee said at a banquet hosted by Papua New Guinea Governor General Michael Ogio.

This is the first state visit by an Indian president to Papua New Guinea. “We now seek to work together as reliable partners to achieve our common aspirations of peace and security, prosperity and sustainable development in our regions”, Mr Mukherjee said. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the region for the FIPIC summit, he had underlined co-operation with the Islands of the Pacific to be a key component of our Act East Policy.

Four pacts were signed between India and Papua New Guinea: A pact in the field of healthcare and medical science, a pact on a USD 100 million credit line between the Export Import Bank of India and Papua New Guinea, a MoU between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi and the PNG University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea, and a pact for establishing the India-Papua New Guinea Centre for Excellence in IT.

India and Papua New Guinea elaborated on exploring gas and oil reserves in the island nation and developing downstream industries. “You are blessed with fertile soil, lands rich in natural resources and abundant marine wealth”, Mr Mukherjee said.

“Our public and private sector are keen to join you in exploring your gas and oil reserves, establishing downstream industries and developing the infrastructure that you require in the different sectors of your growing economy. We have much to offer”, Mr Mukherjee said.

He also addressed a gathering at the University of Papua New Guinea.

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