About Us India - Tonga

As on 04th April 2023

High Commission of India

India-Tonga Bilateral Relations

Historical Background: Tonga and India have traditionally enjoyed a close relationship. Late King Tupou IV and Queen paid state visits to India in 1971 and 1976. Indian Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi visited Tonga in 1981. Several Tongans, including members of the Royal family, have received training in India in defence and other courses under ITEC programme. In July 1972, the Late Prince Tu'ipelehake became the first Tongan to attend the Indian Military Academy in India. 

The interaction between India and Tonga has gradually increased since the reopening of High Commission of India, Suva in 1999. The then Tongan PM/Foreign Minister visited India in May 2002 and had called on the PM, EAM and Agriculture Minister. Defence Advisor based in High Commission of India, Canberra is accredited to Tonga.  

High-Level Exchanges

FIPIC: The Forum for India-Pacific Island Countries was inaugurated on 19 November 2014 at Suva.  Hon’ble Prime Minister of India also hosted the First Summit of the Forum in Suva (Fiji) during his historic visit to Fiji on 19 November 2014.  The Forum saw participation of 14 Pacific Island Countries. Tongan delegation led by Prime Minister Lord  Tu’ivakano attended the Summit.

FIPIC-II: As a follow-up of the historic first FIPIC Summit in 2014, India organized the second FIPIC at Jaipur on 21 August 2015, which was hosted by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi.   Building upon the success of the first FIPIC, India announced major initiatives to boost cooperation with the 14 Pacific Island countries.   Tonga delegation led by Hon. Semisi Fakahau, Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests & Fisheries, attended the Forum. 

Interaction with PSIDS at New York: On 24 September 2019, on the sidelines of the UNGA, Prime Minister of India Hon. Narendra Modi held an interaction, first of its kind, with the leaders of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS).   This high-level exchange will be followed up with the third Summit meeting of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC), which is scheduled to be held in the first half of 2020. 

India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference (IPISDC): Government of India organized the India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference (IPISDC) at Suva, Fiji on 25-26 May 2017. Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Dr.) V.K.Singh (Retd.) hosted the event. Hon. Semisi Fakahau, Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests & Fisheries led the Tongan delegation to the Conference. 

International Solar Alliance:  Tonga has become one of the Founding Members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) – a joint initiative of the Governments of India and France to promote solar energy.   Hon. Semisi Fakahau, Minister of Agriculture visited New Delhi to attend the Founding Conference of ISA on 11 March 2018.

Other Important Visits/Exchanges: 

  • Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha Smt. Meira Kumar visited Tonga from 17-20 April 2012 to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Assembly Mid-Year Executive Committee Meeting. Hon’ble Speakers of the Legislative Assemblies of Nagaland, Shri Kiyanilie Peseyie and Rajasthan, Shri Dependra Singh Shekhawat also attended the meeting. Hon’ble Speaker launched the Kolomotu’a Solar Project on 19 April during her stay in Tonga.

  • Minister for Internal Affairs Hon Fe’ao Vakata, and Senior Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Elsie Fukofuka, attended Distinguished Visitors Programme for Pacific Islands Countries, from 7-17 February 2016,  in India.

  • Shri Mansukh Lal Mandaviya, Hon. Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Chemicals and Fertilizers, visited Tonga on 25-26 April 2018.

  • Hon. Poasi Mataele Tei, Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications attend the 2nd Assembly of the ISA in New Delhi on 31 October 2019.

Development Partnership Assistance  

Government of India provides annual grants for community development projects in Tonga.  In addition, training slots are offered to Tonga under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme of the Government of India.  Diplomats are also offered training at the Foreign Service Institute of India. 

In 2018, India gave US$ 1 million as assistance for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction after Tropical Cyclone Gita.  US$500,000 was given as immediate cash assistance and the balance amount has been given through UNDP for renovation of export facility in Tonga.  

Human Resources Development

Tonga has been provided training slots per year under ITEC programme number for which are changing on utilization. The number of persons who availed of civil training in 2012-13 was four, and in 2014-15, 10 slots were utilized. 11 slots have been utilized out of 15 slots allotted for 2015-16. Six slots were utilized out of 10 offered in 2016-17. For the year 2017-18, one slot was utilized out of five allotted slots. Two slots were utilized out of 5 offered in 2018-19. Both slots were utilized in 2019-20. One slot was utilized out of two in 2020-21. All three slots were utilized in 2021-22.

Tongan Defence Service personnel who availed of defence training in various training institutions in India were seven during 2011-12, 04 during 2012-13 and 10 during 2013-14, one during 2014-15, 06 during 2015-16 and 03 during 2016-17, 04 during 2017-18.

Two experts from Tonga had attended the TERI Workshop on Sustainable Development in March 2007 in Suva. Four ‘solar mamas’ attended a training course at the Barefoot College, Tilonia.

One diplomat from Tonga attended the training for diplomats of Pacific Island countries organised by the Foreign Service Institute held in Nadi, Fiji in May 2015.

Mr. J. Somasekharan, Indian ‘Coconut Development Expert’ was on deputation to the Government of Tonga for a period of seven months from March-October 2017. 

Indian Assistance:

i. In 2007, GOI provided a grant-aid of US$ 100,000/- for construction of access road  from Wharf to Hunga village.

ii. Another grant-aid of US$ 100,000/- was approved in 2008 for up-gradation of jetty in Hunga. 

iii. On December 8, 2008, India donated 1,200 full uniform sets to Hon. Acting Minister of Defense, Tu'aTaumoepeau Tupou for the Tonga’s military.

iv. In July 2014, GOI had also provided grant-aid of US$ 300,000 for Tsunami Alert System.

v. In October 2014, US$ 115,000 was committed by GOI for Project Proposal “Upgrade to the Office of the Public Service Commission ICT Infrastructure”

vi. In September 2015, US$ 71,627/- was approved by GOI for project titled ‘Spectrum Monitoring Including Detection of Interference and Illegal Transmission’.

vii. On 28 August 2020, Government of India approved funding US$1,018,844 for support response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Cultural Relations 

A 5-member cultural troupe from the Indian Cultural Centre, Suva visited Tonga from 17-21 July 2012 to participate at the Heilala Festival. Under the ‘Namaste Pacifika’, Indian Cultural Festival, Ministry of Culture sponsored ‘Mrs. Meera Das’ Odissi classical dance group performed in Tonga on 3 November 2017.  

IDY in Tonga

Fifth International Day of Yoga was celebrated in Tonga on 15 June 2019. Due to the Covid situation in 2020, as directed by the Ministry, the local authorities were informed to celebrate the IDY virtually and a blogging contest was arranged. IDY 2021 could not be celebrated due to Covid situation.  8th International Day of Yoga organized by the High Commission in Tonga in association with Sports Division, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Government of the Kingdom of Tonga on 21 June 2022. 


Bilateral Relations