India’s outreach to Pacific Islands: Making a difference

India is set to host a summit with leaders from 14 members of the Pacific Islands Forum (FIPIC) in Jaipur on August 21, which is expected to be attended by 10 heads of state/government from the PIF members. The initiative has the potential to revitalise India’s relations with these countries, as expressed during the summit meeting held during the visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Fiji in November 2014. Though these countries are relatively small, and distant from India, there are several areas for fruitful cooperation.
There are certain issues that need attention. Implementation of projects offered by India should be improved by appropriate reforms in project management and financial approval processes. Indian diplomatic representation is weak and many of the PIF members are covered by non-resident Indian missions which are not able to make frequent visits. One approach could be to have in addition, Special Envoys from India for promoting bilateral relations with these countries. These could provide advocacy and give a push to cooperation.

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