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Pacific island nations give big thumbs up to India’s Global South leadership during PM Modi’s visit

PM Narendra Modi at the third Forum for India–Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit at Port Moresby on Monday (All images courtesy: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flying visit to Papua New Guinea could go a long way in establishing India as a leader among developing countries who look at New Delhi as the ‘Voice of the Global South’.

After the Caribbean nations, the Pacific island countries too urged India to be their flag bearer on the global stage during the third Forum for India–Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit held at Port Moresby on Monday.

Monday’s significant meeting carried forward PM Modi’s vision of utilising India’s current G20 presidency to give resonance to the voice of the Global South and the importance of South-South Cooperation to collectively shape the global agenda.

pm modi pacific summit

At the summit, which has deepened India’s relationship with countries of the region with the evolution of the Act East Policy, the Pacific Island leaders called on PM Modi to amplify their concerns at the bigger forums.

Insisting that they are “victims of global powerplay”, the island nations promised to rally behind India’s leadership at various global forums.

“You are the voice that can offer our issues at the highest as advanced economies discuss matters relating to economy, commerce, trade and geopolitics,” said Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape.

“We want you to be an advocate for us. As you sit in those meetings and continue to fight for the rights of small emerging nations and emerging economies,” Marape added while stressing that he is speaking for other “small brother and sister nations” of the Pacific.

Marape mentioned in his opening remarks that “with big nations at play in terms of geopolitics and power struggles”, the Pacific island countries have been dealt a huge blow resulting in rising inflation, high costs of fuel, and power tariffs.

Assuring the leaders that they can count on India as a reliable partner, PM Modi said that the voice of the Global South should also resonate strongly in the UN Security Council, the reform of which should be a shared priority.

“We share your belief in multilateralism. We support a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. We respect the sovereignty and integrity of all countries,” he said in his opening remarks.

PM Modi agreed that the world has gone through a difficult period with the Covid pandemic and many other challenges, the impact of which has been felt most by the countries of the Global South.

“I am glad that India stood with its Pacific island friends during this challenging time. Whether it was vaccines or essential medicines, wheat or sugar; India, in line with its capabilities, has been assisting all partner countries,” he mentioned.

Laying out the ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future,’ theme of India’s G-20 Presidency once again, Prime Minister Modi that India considers the Pacific nations as “large ocean countries” and not just small island states.

“It is this vast ocean that connects India with all of you. The Indian philosophy has always viewed the world as one family,” he said.

India also announced a 12-step action plan to propel its partnership with the 14 Pacific Island countries and fulfill the developmental aspirations of the people of the region.

From boosting healthcare to opening IT-cybersecurity hubs to building solar-powered buildings in all the FIPIC countries, PM Modi pledged India’s long-term commitment to help the Pacific region for which he said he has a “special affinity”.

Also Read: India our flag bearer on global stage, say Caribbean leaders as Modi’s Global South initiative takes off