India on Monday announced a 12-step action plan to strengthen its partnership with Pacific Island countries (PICs) even as the US and China vie with each other for influence in the region.
Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the 12-step action plan at the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation at Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, the US signed a defence and maritime surveillance agreement with the island nation as part of efforts to deter the island countries from developing security ties with Beijing.
Briefing media persons in Sydney — where the Prime Minister landed in the evening from Port Moresby — foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said: “Our approach to development is human-centric, not for the want of any transactional gain…
"Prime Minister’s vision of FIPIC is rooted in that fundamental sense of humanity and people-centricity. That was clearly on display during the FIPIC Summit,’’ Kwatra said, referring to the remarks of appreciation for India from Pacific Island country leaders for voicing the concerns of the global south at international forums, particularly G20.
Kwatra said the development projects India is giving are being done in a manner that does not increase their indebtedness.
“Priorities are set by them, not us,” Kwatra said, adding that the 100-bed regional super speciality hospital to be set up in Fiji was on the request from Suva. The same principle, he said, was applied to the other 11 projects announced by Modi. These include a regional IT and cyber security training hub in Papua New Guinea, Jaipur Foot Camps, solar projects, desalination units, sea ambulances, dialysis units, and a round-the-clock helpline.