The Indian High Commissioner to Fiji, Shri P.S Karthigeyan has confirmed they will be hosting “Maitri Ka Amrit Mahotsav” (Friendship Festival) to commemorate their 75 years of existence in Fiji on Monday.
During a media conference, the High Commissioner confirmed they have planned a series of events across the country starting off with a major cultural event in the evening at FNU’s new Auditorium in Nasinu campus.
“The 2 October event is very important in its own context because of the Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti, the day on which the commissioner of India, the first Commission of India, arrived in Suva on 2 October 1948.”
To take this event outside of Suva, and involve friends of India and the diaspora from around the country, the Commission will be hosting further programs in Rakiraki next week.
“We will have a mangrove plantation drive on the 6 October in the USP lower campus. This is a public event where we would be happy to have a lot of people joining us. We have already planned for a number of Children, Youth, and of course, friends of India and the diaspora to join us for this important event.”
“Considering that this is limited capacity when you are, the invitations are actually being sent by the commission but I can assure that it will be a grand spectacle, which combines the best of the culture of both India and Fiji.”
P.S Karthigeyan also shed light on the recent Third Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) where the Prime Minister Sitiven Rabuka met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi where they discussed the 12 Point action plan that was announced at the summit.
“This was meant for the entire region but it has a very strong Fiji focus. One of the flagship initiatives announced at the summit was the establishment of a 100 bedded multi-speciality hospital for the Pacific region to be set up in Fiji. We are making really good progress on that with the help of the Fijian authorities. There have been some discussions on the possible sites for locating this very prestigious project.”
“Fiji is a young and aspirational country now with a strong segment in the population and has very strong aspirations and ambitions for the country. In this context, that investment in knowledge and capacity building and capability development is very important. We will be strengthening the number of capacity building slots which we are giving to Fiji and also to the wider Pacific. For Fiji, we are currently giving about 125 slots completely funded by the Government of India under the Indian Technical and economic cooperation program.”
“This would be further reinforced through the Sagar Amrit Scholarship that was announced by the Prime Minister during the Summit.”
He also highlighted that the Government of India will be providing more than 1000 scholarships over the next five years for all the 14 Pacific Island countries.
“But knowing the strong focus on Fiji and the ability of Fiji to kind of observe this kind of important skill building slots, we are confident that Fiji will be getting around 75 courses a year extra from this year onwards. Many of these courses under the Sagar Amrit will be in high priority areas of the Pacific Island countries. We have been told that it will cover the area of healthcare, climate change, Sustainable development, which are major areas of priority.”
“There are country specific announcements also that have been made in this Summit. This includes setting up of SME development projects of the choice of the partner country and setting up of a desalination unit, dialysis unit, knowing that there is a high incidence of nephrology leading up to issues in this part of the world.”
He added that there is setting up of the geriatric medicine outlet to ensure that access to quality health care is given to the public.
“It’s not just important to have quality healthcare but also need to make sure that the pricing point is affordable and the common public are able to access it. India being the global leader in the generic medicine sector, which has transformed the healthcare scenario across the board, we strongly believe that this initiative to set up a generic medicine pharmacy outlet across the Pacific region would really help in and significantly bring down the cost of health care to the people and ensure that they have right to quality living.”