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 High Commission of India

Suva
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India – Fiji Bilateral Relations

Historical Perspective

India’s links with Fiji commenced in 1879 when Indian laborers were brought here under indenture system to work on sugarcane plantations. Between 1879 and 1916 around 60,553 Indians were brought to Fiji. Beginning with early 20th century, Indian traders and others also started arriving in Fiji. In 1920, the indenture system was abolished. Currently, of the 886,416 population (2017 Census), 37% are people of Indian origin.

Prior to Fiji’s independence in 1970, India had a Commissioner since 1948 to look after the interests of people of Indian origin.It was later upgraded to High Commissioner after independence. Fiji’s former Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara visited India in 1971 and former Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi visited Fiji in 1981.Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi visited Fiji on 19 November 2014.

Public Sector Undertakings: Four Government of India undertakings, viz, New India Assurance Company Ltd. (since 1954), Life Insurance Corporation of India (since 1956), Bank of Baroda (since 1961),are functioning in Fiji; Water and Power Consultancy Services Ltd (Since 2015)

Recent Visits to India
Year-2016: Acting-Commander RFMF Rear Admiral ViliameNaupoto attended International Fleet Review held in Visakhatnam, India on February 5, 2016.Attorney-General AiyazSayed-Khaiyum visited New Delhi on February 16, 2016to discuss Air Services Agreement. He again visited for IMF Conference, Advancing Asia held in New Delhi, on 11 March. David Kolitagane, Permanent Secretary for Public Enterprise attendedMaritime India Summit held from 14-16 April 2016, in Mumbai.Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama visited India on 19-21 May during his stopover, on his way to the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey and had meeting with Indian Prime Minister.Justice Sunil Lal visited India to attend 17thInternational conference for chief justice of the world, in Lucknow on 9-15 November 2016. Mr Inia Seruiratu, Minister of Agriculture,attended the First Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), in New Delhi on 2- 5 November 2016

Year-2017: Ms. Rosy Akbar, Minister for Health and Medical Services, visited New Delhi  forRaisina Dialogue on 17-19 January 2017. Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, visited New Delhi and signed MOU with Election Commission of India (ECI)on 24 January 2017. Amb Yogesh Karan, Fijian Permanent Secretary to the Office of Prime Minister, and Amb Robin Nair, Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs visited New Delhi for 3rd round of Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) held in New Delhi on 21 February 2017. Attorney-General Mr.AiyazSayed-Khaiyum visited New Delhi on and signed Air Services Agreement with Indian Civil Aviation Minister on 8 March 2017. Minister for Health and Medical Services,Ms.Rosy Akbar, accompanied with Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Service, Philiip Davies visited India for recruitment of Physicians for Fiji Hospitals in May 2017. Minister of Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, visited India for signing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for strengthening defence and security ties including in defence production and military training on 28-30, May 2017.Fijian Minister of Agriculture and their COP23 Climate Champion Mr. Inia Seruiratu participated in FICCI’s Business and Climate Summit alongwith Fiji’s COP23 team on 31 August – 1 September 2017.

Year-2018: Seven PIO MPs Participated in the first Pravasi SansadSammelan (PIO Parliamentarians Conference) held in New Delhi on 9 January 2018.  Mr.FaiyazKoya, Fijian Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism attended ‘South Asia’s Travel and Tourism Exchange’ in New Delhi on 31 January – 2 February 2018.  Mr.AiyazSayedKhaiyum, Attorney General and Minister of Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service, Communications and Education visited New Delhi to attend the World Sustainable Development Summit on 15-17 February 2018. Prime Minister of Fiji Hon. Frank Bainimarama participated in the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance at New Delhi on 11March 2018.  Ambassador Yogesh Karan, PS to PMO and Ms. Amelia KotobalavuKatoaKomaisavai, Chief Assistant Secretary, Office of Prime Minister visited New Delhi for attending the first General Assembly of the International Solar Alliance on 1-6 October 2018.

Recent Visits from India
Year-2016:Mr SambhuKumaran, Joint Secretary (PIC) and Commander Sanjeev Kumar JD,DNI visited Fiji from 15-17 February to hold discussion with Fijian Navy on Defence cooperation.A specialized team from India including Atul Kumar Agarwal, DGM of PGCIL, Mukesh Khanna, AGM of PGCIL, Rajesh Sharma, GM NHPC, and Padam Narayan, Deputy Manager of SECIvisited Fiji on 10 April, to assist with the restoration of power to areas affected by TC Winston.A delegation consisting of Jawhar Sircar, CEO, PrasarBharati, and P Das DDG (Tech &IR) visited Fiji to attend the ABU Pacific Media Partnership Conference, held in Nadi, Fiji from 20-21 May.RS Sharma, Chairman, TRAI and Sanjeev Bansal, AdvisorTRAIattended Global Policy Forum Meeting in Nadi On 7-9 September 2016.ShashiRanjanKumar , Joint Secretary  (T), DOT and I S  Shastry , Joint Administrator (Tech),  DOT attended 56thCouncil Meeting and the Annual Forum of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO) on 12-16 September 2016.

Year 2017:    Smt. Ananya Ray, Special Secretary (Ministry of Finance) & Member (Customs) visited Suva to attend the World Customs Organisation Asia-Pacific Heads of Customs Meeting on 14-16 March 2017.Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Dr.) V.K.Singh (Retd.) visited Fiji on 24-26 May 2017.

Year 2018:    Dr.Satya Pal Singh, Minister for State for Human Resource Development visited Fiji to attend the 20th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in Nadi on 19-24 February 2018. Three-member experts team from RITES Limited visited Fiji to review the Fijian Railway Link on 27 Feb-2 March 2018.  Mr.Mansukh L. Mandaviya, Hon’ble Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways, Shipping and Chemicals & Fertilizers of India visited Tonga and Fiji (transit-interactions) on 25-26 April 2018. Shri B. Rath, Commissioner, representative from Ministry of Agriculture attended the 34thSession of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Regional Conference for Asia and Pacific, held in Nadi, Fiji on 9-13 April 2018.  Shri Pranav Kumar Das, Special Secretary and Member Customs, Mr.SatyaSrinivasan, Joint Secretary (Customs), accompanied by First Secretary, High Commission of India, Singapore attended the World Customs Organization Asia Pacific Regional Conference held in Nadi on 13-18 May 2018.   Mr.Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare visited Fiji on his way to Tuvalu on 27-29 May 2018.  A Joint MEA-CEDAC Team visited Fiji on preparatory visit for establishment of Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Information Technology on 6-7 August 2018. Indian Naval Ship (INS)Sahayadri visited Fiji on 14-16 Augut 2018.

India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference (IPISDC): Government of India organized the India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference (IPISDC) which was held at Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva, Fiji on 25-26 May 2017. Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Dr.) V.K.Singh (Retd.) hosted the event. The Conference saw the participation of several high profile leaders from the 14 Pacific Island Nations. India signed MoUsfor setting up of Centers of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) with Fiji, Cook Islands, Nauru, Samoa and Niue. India and Fiji also signed three MOUs for ‘Co-operation in Youth Development’, ‘Cooperation between Broadcasting Agencies’, ‘Cooperation in the field of Renewable Energy’. PrasarBharati of India also gifted programmatic content on India for telecast to all the Pacific Island Countries. India announced assistance of US$ 1mn for Fiji’s COP23 Presidency Trust Fund.

Fiji signed and ratified the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and has become one of the Founding Members of the ISA.

Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited Fiji on 19 November 2014. During the visit three MoUs were signed with Fiji: (i)MoU for Extending a Line of Credit for Establishing a Co-Generation Plant in Fiji, (ii)MoU on Cooperation in the field of training of diplomats, and (iii)MoU on the Earmarking of Land for their Diplomatic Missions in the respective Capitals.

FIPIC-I:Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi hosted the First Summit Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC-I) in Suva (Fiji) during the visit on 19 November 2014 with the participation of 14 Pacific countries. Fijian delegation, led by Prime Minister Hon’ble Josaia Vorenqe Bainimarama, attended the Summit.

FIPIC-II: The second Summit of Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC-II) at Jaipur, India, hosted by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Fijian PM Hon. Bainimaram attended the Summit.

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (PBD) / Pravasi BhartiyaSamman (PBS): PBS awardees from Fiji are: (i) Mr.MahendraChaudhry, former PM (2004); (ii) Golfer Mr. Vijay Singh (2005); (iii) Late Sir MotiTika Ram, former Supreme Court Judge (2007), (iv) Mr.Y.P. Reddy, Reddy Group Chairman and Chairman, (v) Girmit Council (2010), (vii) RamKrishna Mission (2014) (viii) Mr Vinod Patel, businessman got award for social service in (2017). 42 Indo-Fijians attended Know India Programme event in January 2017, out of total 160 KIP participants.

Human Resource Development: India provides training and scholarships to Fijian nationals under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperatin (ITEC) and the General Scholarship Scheme of ICCR.  Government of India also provides funding to the University of the South Pacific for Hindi studies.

Consular: The number of Indians living in Fiji is about 1400, mostly engaged in services like IT, management, finance, banking, educational, medical, hotel industry etc. 

Tourism: India Tourism Office, Sydney participated in the Hibiscus festival from 2012 to 2017, every year. The Festival is held in August every year in Suva.

Commercial and Economic Relations
Bilateral Trade:

Year

Exports to India

Import from India

Trade Imbalance

2012-2013

1.38

41.01

39.69

2013-2014

2.0

48.74

46.74

2014-2015

1.8

49.75

47.95

2015-2016

0.37

44.15

43.78

2016-2017

0.60

52.70

52.10

2017-2018

0.49

54.24

53.75

(Source: Department of Commerce, Government of India) in US$ Millions

Banking: MoU on Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information between the Reserve Bank of India and the Reserve Bank of Fiji was signed in March 2013.

Healthcare
Sahyadri: An Agreement between the Sahyadri Group of Hospitals, Pune and Ministry of Health, Government of Fiji was signed in July 2012 to provide tertiary health care facilities in Fiji (valid for five years). Team of specialist doctors from India came every quarter, did health screening and conduct heart and other surgeries in Fiji till September 2017. Several patients travel to India for medical treatment in super specialty hospitals (like Apollo, Forties, BLK, Devyani Hospitals etc.). Apollo Hospitals in April 2013 signed anMoU with the Fiji National University (FNU), for cooperation in training and capacity building and organizing a telemedicine / mobile health programme. In August 2013, Apollo’s telemedicine center at Fiji National University (FNU)'s campus was opened.  Apollo-Fiji Health Forum was held at Suva on 21 April 2017.   Apollo Hospitals opened tele-medicine centre hub in Suva on 22 August 2018. 

Jaipur Foot: Health specialists from Fiji underwent prosthetic training at the Jaipur Foot organization (BhagwanMahaveerViklangSahayataSamiti (BMVSS), in July-September 2010). A specialist team from BMVSS visited Fiji in June 2011 at the invitation of the Ministry of Health of Fiji to carry out limb fitments and help establish an artificial limbs unit at the CWM Hospital, Suva.

Indian Community: The journey of Girmit (contract for indentured labourers) started in Fiji in 1879 and ended in 1920. Indentured labourers were brought to Fiji during that period mainly for sugarcane plantation. Hindi is widely spoken and is the third Official language in Fiji (English and iTaukei are two other languages). There are over 2,000 Ramayana Mandalies, which do Bhajana / Kirtana on regular basis in Fiji. Indian Diapsora celebrates Ramlila, Diwali, Holi, Chat puja, Ganesh festival, Durga puja, Eid, RathYatraetc.

Cultural Relations: An Indian Cultural Centre (ICC) in Fiji was established by GOI in 1972 (which is first ever such centre abroad). The Centre was renamed as Swami Vivekanand Cultural Centre (SVCC) on 31 May 2018 by Hon. Minister of State for Health Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey.SVCCprovides classes in seven streams: Indian classical music (Karnataki, Tabla, Harmonium) and dance (Bharatnatyam, Kathak), Hindi language and Yoga. ICC organizes cultural evenings, exhibitions, film shows, workshops and discussions regularly. Five ICCR sponsored groups performed in major cities of Fiji since July 2016.Two Fijian group participated in dance festivals in India in 2016-17.High Commission of India in Fiji, Ministry of Education, Heritage & Arts of Fiji and FSSS jointly organized First-Ever 'International Ramayan Conference (IRC)' in Fiji from 14-16 October 2016. India celebrated 3rdInternational Day of Yoga at Suva with 3,000 school children on 21 June 2017.

On 28 October 2017, High Commission of India in Suva launched Namaste Pacifika, A Festival of India in Fiji and six other countries of concurrent accreditation (Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu). The Festival was held from October 2017 to March 2018 and it showcased over 12 groups from India which presented over 55events in seven countries with the involvement of over 125 artists.  The Festival was inaugurated by the President of Fiji on 28 October 2017 in Suva.

Film Festivals: Fiji National University and Film Fiji, in association with the High Commission of India and others organized International Film Festivals in 2012; 2013, 2014 and 2015. India participated in Film festival organized by UNICEF in December 2016. "Mary Kom" was screened during the event.

Useful Resources:

High Commission of India, Suva website:www.indiainfiji.gov.in
High Commission of India, Suva Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IndiainFiji
Indian Cultural Centre, High Commission of India, Suva Facebook page: 
https://www.facebook.com/ICCHighcomindSuva
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HCI_Suva;
YouTube Channel: India in Fiji  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJYT5H3NwEB10MdiXizST2g

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October 2018



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