India will continue to share expertise and experience in areas of IT, healthcare and agriculture, by sending depute India experts to Tonga and the rest of the region.
The announcement came after Lord Tuʻivakano met Indian Prime Minister, HE Narendra Modi, in Fiji during the Pacific Leaders Meeting at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on November 19.
Climate Change remains a growing threat to the Pacific, and India has agreed to provide a $1 million Special Adaptation Fund through technical assistance and capacity building training. An increase in grant aid to USD 200,000 annually to each Pacific nation including Tonga was also announced.
India is also happy to expand its efforts to train diplomats from the Pacific, and setup Trade offices for friendly exchanges at Indian missions overseas.
India will facilitate travel arrangements for Tonga and 14 Pacific Islands nationals visiting India, through the ‘Indian Visa on Arrival’ and Distinguished Visitors Programme’ facility, promoting better understanding between our two people.
Development assistance in the sectors of agriculture, education, health and energy are priority areas of economic cooperation that Tonga seeks to pursue with India, stated the Lord Prime Minister.
His Lordship said that, the visit of India’s PM to Fiji is a timely opportunity for Tonga to renew its partnerships with India.
In response, Prime Minister Modi announced various measures to strengthen this partnership with Tonga and other Pacific nations, during the Pacific Leaders Meeting at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on November 19.
“India has always been keen to work closely with Tonga to advance in its development priorities, and wishes to be a close partner of the Pacific Islands,” remarked Prime Minister Modi.
To continue this friendship, India invites Tonga and other Pacific nations, to the first Forum of India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) meeting in India, in April-May 2015, which will be held on a regular basis, every two years.
Tonga’s Prime Minister thanked the Indian Prime Minister and acknowledges that the new measures to deepen India-Pacific relations especially in ‘visa on arrival’ and more technical assistance programmes will continue to be a crucial factor in promoting good relations and socio-economic development between our two countries.