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Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Narendra Modi arrives in Fiji for day-long visit

Modi is set to hold talks with Fiji PM Frank Bainimarama in the first visit to Fiji by an Indian prime minister since Indira Gandhi in 1981

Suva: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Suva, the capital of Fiji, on Tuesday night for a day-long visit, the first by an Indian premier to the country in 33 years, during which he will hold bilateral talks with his counterpart Frank Bainimarama.

Modi arrived in Suva from Melbourne on board on a special Indian Air Force plane on the last leg of his three-nation ten-day tour after a hectic four-city Australia visit. Last week, he visited Myanmar to attend the East Asia and the Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summits.

During his visit to Suva, Modi will hold bilateral talks with Bainimarama, address Fiji’s parliament and meet leaders and representatives of 12 Pacific island nations.

Referring to his visit to Fiji, before leaving India, Modi had said it would be his privilege to visit the country, soon after the return of democracy in September this year.

“We also owe them a debt of gratitude for hosting our scientists on the island in support of our Mars Mission. I am excited about visiting Fiji as also with the opportunity I will have of meeting leaders and representatives of 12 Pacific island nations," he had said.

The last Indian prime minister to visit the Pacific island nation was Indira Gandhi in 1981. Of Fiji’s 849,000 population, 37% people are of Indian origin. Many Indians arrived in Fiji as indentured labour in the 19th century.

On the eve of Modi’s arrival in Suva, Bainimarama on Monday said the visit is an opportunity for his country to further strengthen its position as a regional leader. Soon after Modi’s visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping will also visit the Pacific nation.

“The opportunity for us not only to welcome these leaders to Fiji and host the leaders of our island neighbours—further strengthening our regional position—but to showcase Fiji," he said at the Heads of Missions Consultations in Suva. PTI

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