A file photo of PM Narendra Modi with his Fijian counterpart Frank Bainimarama (Image courtesy: PIB)
India, the world’s largest and most vibrant democracy, is once again assisting big-time the South Pacific nation of Fiji in conducting its forthcoming general elections.
On Monday, P S Karthigeyan, the High Commissioner of India to Fiji, handed over 5500 bottles of indelible ink to the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) under a special grant of the Indian government for use in the upcoming elections in the island country.
Earlier in June, while responding to a request from the FEO, India gifted four multi-purpose double cab vehicles to the Fijian election body.
Karthigeyan had then conveyed to FEO Chairperson Mukesh Nand that as a friend of Fiji, India stands ready to further assist the election body in any area of electoral management.
It is not the first time that India is helping Fiji conduct elections in an efficient manner.
In 2014, New Delhi donated 10 Mahindra SUV vehicles and 4400 bottles of inedible ink. Four years later, India delivered five Mahindra SUVs and 6000 bottles of inedible ink for the 2018 elections.
In addition, a three-member delegation from the Election Commission of India participated in the Multinational Observer Group (MOG) during the previous elections along with representatives from Australia and Indonesia.
While India’s links with Fiji began in the late 19th century when Indian labourers were brought to the Pacific shores by Britishers under the indenture system to work on sugarcane plantations, the bond has got remarkably strengthened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Suva in November 2014.
Since then, the Indian government has extended a Line of Credit worth millions of US dollars, provided grants, and financial assistance during floods and cyclones, supplied sewing machines, Akash tablets, tractors, medical diagnostic kits, tuberculosis medicines, anti-retroviral drugs for HIV patients, helped in upgradation of the sugar industry and also prioritized Fiji while providing Covid medicines to 150 countries as the nation battled a deadly Covid wave in 2021.
In April, while virtually attending the opening ceremony of Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital – one of its kind children’s heart hospital in the entire South Pacific region – PM Modi highlighted that the shared legacy of India-Fiji relations is based on the sense of service of humanity.
“There is a vast sea between our two countries, but our culture has kept us connected with each other. Our relationships are built on mutual respect, cooperation, and the strong mutual ties of our people. It is the good fortune of India that we have been getting the opportunity to play a role and contribute to the socio-economic development of Fiji,” said the Prime Minister in his speech.
Right from PM Modi’s participation in the first meeting of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Co-operation (FIPIC-I) in 2014 to Fijian Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama’s attendance at the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi in 2018 and their subsequent interactions, the top leadership of both countries continues to jointly counter the complex strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com last month, the frontline warship of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet INS Satpura visited the Fijian capital on a goodwill visit, holding several high-level exchanges with the Fijian Navy during the three-day port call.
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