SPEECH: SIGNING OF MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING VISIT OF PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA, SHRI NARENDRA MODI

Prime Minster Modi and I have just concluded a very cordial and productive discussion, and I must say I was not surprised that we found much common ground.

I believe we have laid the groundwork for a very productive relationship in the future. India is a growing power with a very talented people. It is making impressive advances in technology and creating opportunities and economic growth—all while tackling long-standing problems of poverty, under-development and marginalization.

Fiji, too, is creating opportunities, instituting reforms and seeking to raise up and provide opportunities for our poorest citizens. We found we have much to learn from each other, and so we believe we need to stimulate exchanges as much as possible. Our people have a great deal of wisdom and experience, and we need to put them together to share that.

Fiji also needs assistance, and I am pleased that we were able to discuss India’s assistance to Fiji, which is both generous and respectful of our needs.

Today we signed three memoranda of understanding—on the exchange of land for a new chancery building in New Delhi, on diplomatic exchanges that will allow Fiji’s diplomats to train at the Indian Government’s Foreign Service Institute, and on project financing for an electricity co-generation plant funded through the Exim Bank of India.

This is only the beginning. We have some 15 more agreements in the works, and we expect to sign them soon—on agriculture, trade, health, water, sports and other areas of development. We are pleased that our relationship with India is growing and we are proud to have India as a partner in Fiji’s future.

Thank you. Mr. Prime Minister. The floor is yours.

Dhanyavaad – Vinaka vakalevu