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EDITORIAL: Our Ties With India strong

As India celebrates its Republic Day today, we too celebrate. We look at how the once fragile Fijian Government-Indian Government relationship has strengthened over time. Now it is firmer and
26 Jan 2015 11:42
EDITORIAL: Our Ties With India strong

As India celebrates its Republic Day today, we too celebrate. We look at how the once fragile Fijian Government-Indian Government relationship has strengthened over time. Now it is firmer and friendlier than ever under the Bainimarama Government and its building of a better Fiji.

It was not always that way. After the coups of 1987, Fiji and India’s relationship subsequently took a downward plunge with the expulsion of the then Indian High Commissioner, T P Sreenivasan, by coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

That was then.

The High Commission of India was reopened in March 1999 and the Indian Cultural Centre in February 2005. Fiji established its first High Commission in New Delhi in January 2004.

Today, under the Voreqe Bainimarama-led Government, relations are at their strongest, India meanwhile has not shied from recognising the leading role Fiji plays in the South Pacific.

This was epitomised by the recent visit of India’s rock star Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He and Mr Bainimarama even took a selfie of themselves beside Suva Harbour, an indicator of their genuine warm rapport.

This is the same Mr Modi who yesterday was on the airport tarmac welcoming American President Barack Obama to New Delhi. Today Mr Modi has Mr Obama as his chief guest at the Republic Day parade in the Indian capital.

Meanwhile, Fijian-Indian relations prosper.

A strong delegation from Fiji headed by Attorney-General and Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is just back from attending the Confederation of Indian Industry Partnership Summit in Jaipur. Their invitation came in the wake of the visit by Mr Modi. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s delegation then went to New Delhi for high level talks.

Chief Justice Anthony Gates is among many from here welcomed to India at a time when Australia and New Zealand were at their unwelcoming worst. Mr Bainimarama too.

India has extended its hand to assist the Fijian sugar industry, agriculture sector,and telecommunications. Some of our top military personnel have gone to India for training in a country with a proud military history..

Medical teams from renowned Apollo Hospital and Sahyadri Hospital have been making trips here. Right now a team from Sahyadri is in the country and has been working long hours to assist Fijians.

Fijian students are studying at top universities throughout India. This newspaper, as just one example, currently has journalists studying in Pune, Mumbai, and Bangalore universities on scholarships awarded through the high commission here.

As we wish India well on Republic Day, we know that in India we have true friends.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 




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