IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


22nd May, 2023 International Relations

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  • Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi arrived at Port Moresby. In a special gesture, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea received Prime Minister Modi at the airport. A salute of 19 guns and Guard of honour were accorded to Prime Minister Modi.
  • This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Papua New Guinea.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Prime Minister James Marape will jointly host the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC).

Why are these Pacific Island Countries important for India?

  • Engagement with these 14 countries is part of India’s Act East Policy and India has been engaging with these countries mainly through development assistance under South-South Cooperation.
  • India has been extending assistance in the form of capacity building, training, grants-in-aid, loan assistance and community development projects.

Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation

  • Under the rubric of Act East Policy, India has launched the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) and the first meeting of this forum was hosted by Prime Minister Modi in Fiji in 2014 and all the 14 countries participated.
  • Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation (FIPIC) is a multinational grouping developed in 2014 for cooperation between India and 14 Pacific Islands nations which include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
  • All heads of state or heads of government of the above countries met in Suva, Fiji in November 2014 for the first time where the annual summit was conceptualised.
  • The second meeting of the forum took place in Jaipur back in 2015 where all the 14 countries participated.
  • In view of the rising importance of the Indo-Pacific regionally and internationally the PICs have attracted a lot of attention from countries like China, Japan, the US, Russiaand others.
  • With its growing maritime domain awareness, strategic ambitions and its growing economic interests in the Indo-Pacific region, India’s approach to the PICs has been changing gradually as it is looking beyond its immediate region.

Development Partnership

  • India has extended assistance for community projects like coral farms, solar electrification, boats and pick-up trucks, vehicles, construction of sea wall, supply of agricultural equipment, computers and LED bulbs for schools, sewing machines, dialysis machines, and portable saw mills.
  • Centres of Information Technology Labs and Centres for Excellence in IT (CEITs) have been established in different countries in PICs.
  • India has once again been at the forefront in extending initiatives including International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
  • India has a project for providing solar electrification for 2,800 houses in 14 countries and has also undertaken 70 women solar engineers — Solar Mamas. These 70 women have been trained and the process of electrification is underway.
  • Under Other Development Partnership, India is supporting infrastructure development, and the focus is especially on education, culture, health, renovation of colleges, IT infrastructure, and setting up of digital libraries, among others.
  • Fiji and PNG were supplied with indelible ink for use in their general elections.
  • In the health sector around 600 Fijians were provided with customized prosthetic limbs.
  • From time to time India has been providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and has also provided assistance during the pandemic when it supplied Covid-19 Vaccines and Medical supplies.

About PNG

  • New Guinea is the world's second-largest island, with an area of 785,753 km2.
  • Located in Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, the island is separated from Australia by the Torres Strait, though both landmasses lie on the same continental shelf.
  • Numerous smaller islands are located to the west and east.

India PNG Relations

Political Relations

  • India and Papua New Guinea have  formalized diplomatic relations since 19 May 1976.
  • India opened its High Commission in Port Moresby in April 1996. 
  • India and Papua New Guinea enjoy warm and friendly relations.
  • The two countries have been working closely in international fora, including the Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations Organization. 
  • There have been notable visits from India to PNG.

Humanitarian Aid And Other Assistance

  • India has been providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief to PNG from time to time. 
  • The latest assistance has been in the form of drugs for HIV/AIDS patients in PNG
  • Computers and peripheralsworth US $760,000 out of the cumulative grant-in-aid under India's Regional Assistance to Pacific Island Countries were provided to the Government of PNG during the year 2017-18.
  • India has also been assisting PNG in their capacity-building efforts by way of training under Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) and Colombo Plan.
  • Aid proposals in various other fields submitted by the Government of PNG, under the annual grant-in-aid, are under implementation by the Indian side.
  • The Centre of Excellence in Information Technology, agreed to be set up in PNG with Indian financial and technical grant, is near completion and expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2019 at the University of PNG.
  • The Government of India announced in 2018 to extend a grant of US $1 million to PNG towards earthquake reliefin areas that were affected by the earthquake that struck PNG in February 2018.

Economic & Commercial Relations

The bilateral trade figures between the two countries for the last four years are as follows:
 Values in million US dollar

Year >>






Export from India to PNG






Import into India from PNG






Total Bilateral Trade







  • There are approximately 3,000 members of Indian Diaspora in PNG.




Q) In view of the rising importance of the Indo-Pacific regionally and internationally the PICs have attracted a lot of attention from countries like China and India. Discuss (150 words)