NEWS

First World Leader Parliament Address

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday became the first world leader to address the newly elected Fijian Parliament. Mr Modi addressed a special sitting of Parliament, without the majority members
20 Nov 2014 11:47
First World Leader Parliament Address
PM Narendra Modi in Parliament yesterday. The Social Democratic Liberal Party boycotted the sitting. Photo: DEPTFO

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday became the first world leader to address the newly elected Fijian Parliament.

Mr Modi addressed a special sitting of Parliament, without the majority members of the Opposition.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said India gained independence without selling its soul to any bloc.

“When many in the developed world openly wondered whether the developing world was prepared for democracy, India proved that a developing country could not only be democratic, but could do so without selling its soul to any bloc.

“India seized its identity and declared to the world, “We are a democracy, we are a great nation, and we alone will determine our future.”

“India is now a rising power in the world, and we are pleased, Your Excellency, that you have included Fiji in this Pacific trip.”

Mr Bainimarama said Fiji and Fijians were playing an increasingly important role in this region.

He said we stood proud to contribute to international efforts in peacekeeping, development and environmental protection in ways that far exceed expectations for a small nation.

“We are reaching out to parts of the world that seemed very distant only a few years ago.

“We are aggressively seeking partners in trade, investment, development, military co-operation, health services and scientific and cultural exchange.

“We have expertise to offer as well in tourism development, government reform, sustainability and other areas, and we believe India will be a strong partner.”

Mr Bainimarama said the Parliament represents a new beginning.

“It is based on the principle that every citizen of Fiji is equal before the law.

“That every citizen has an equal voice and equal representation in Parliament, and no citizen should be denied the right to contribute his or her energy and ideas to help build a better Fiji.

“There was a time when this Parliament was based on communalism—that is, members of Parliament represented communities, not the people directly.”

This he said served to divide the Fijian people and reinforce their communalism rather than unite them.

Mr Modi’s address to Parliament was part of a tightly packed one-day schedule starting with a guard of honour and ending with a state dinner.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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