November 2014 \ Diaspora News \ PM's Fiji Visit

Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi flew to Fiji from Australia, the first visit by an Indian Prime to this Pacific Island nation in 33 years. He met with his counterpart, PM Frank Bainimarama and pointed out that Fiji could serve as a hub for stronger Indian engagement with Pacific islands. About 37.5 per cent of Fiji’s population of 900,000 plus is of Indian origin, descendants of Girmitiyas who went to work there as indentured labour. This is an extract from the PM’s address before the Fijian Parliament

Today, I propose that we work together to harness the potential of Space technology for governance, economic development, conservation, climate change and natural disasters.

We could work to make Fiji the hub for our regional collaboration in Space, just as India has done with ASEAN.

There are times when we think of each other as distant lands, separated by oceans and seven time zones.

But, think of the days when travel was difficult. That did not deter brave people from travelling over the seas in search of a new life. Distance, to me, is irrelevant in a world of fiber optic cables and satellite links. We are only as far away as the click of a mouse or the call button of a phone. In any case, a direct flight today can take you from Fiji to most places in India. And, I say this more to my people than to you.

Fijians have been steady in visiting India. We in India have not paid enough attention to this beautiful land of warm people and immense potential. This must change. We must make travel easier between our two countries. For this reason, I have taken a small step in extending visa on arrival to Fijians in India, as you have done for Indians. And, if you want to attract more Indians to enjoy the magnificence of your islands and the warmth of your hospitality, you should invite Bollywood to shoot their films in Fiji.

Tags: Fiji