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   Government of the Republic of Fiji

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    A Better Fiji through Excellence in Foreign Service

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Media Release

Govt Commends Envoy For Deepening Fiji-India Relations

PRESS RELEASE

July 29, 2014

Govt Commends Envoy For Deepening Fiji-India Relations

SUVA- This week the Fijian Government farewelled the outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Fiji, His Excellency Vinod Kumar.

After serving in Fiji for three years and nine months, High Commissioner Kumar’s term as envoy to Fiji has come to an end and will return to India early next month.

The Fijian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ratu Inoke Kubuabola at a farewell reception held this week for the High Commissioner at Boron House said while it was a sad event losing a “dear friend but it was also a day to celebrate his remarkable achievements in the short time he had been here in Fiji”.

The Minister highlighted the close and friendly relations that the two countries have enjoyed over the years.

"We also have fruitful cooperation in multilateral fora including at the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, and other organizations. On multilateral issues such as trade, climate change, sustainable development, we have been working together closely," said Ratu Inoke.

He spoke of India's assistance towards the relief efforts for Cyclone Evan.

Ratu Inoke underscored the increase in people to people interaction and exchanges in recent years evident by the numerous high level visits, scholarships, training programs, and the many direct links established with the relevant Ministries.

Between 2013-2014, India offered 80 slots for Fiji and 25 slots for 5 other Pacific Island nations for further training opportunities. Ministries and Departments from the Fijian Government and other Pacific nations, agencies and non-governmental organisations are benefiting by sending their officials for training in India.

Ratu Inoke also commended the Indian Government for the solar electrification training that rural women from Fiji and other Pacific Island countries had undergone at the Barefoot College, Tilonia under the ITEC Programme.

Apart from that, India and Fiji's cooperation includes training for defense personnel in prestigious institutions such as the National Defence College, Defence Services Staff College. In 2013-14, 30 defence training slots were used by Fiji and 10 by Tonga.

"We have worked closely to strengthen ties between our two countries in other areas of education, sugar, agriculture, trade, renewable energy, science and technology and very importantly in health services”, the Foreign Minister said.

The Minister pointed out that during HE Kumar's tenure, negotiations on the India-Fiji Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement were completed in Suva in October 2011.

"We have witnessed significant increase in interest from Bollywood after the success of movies such as 3G and Table No. 21," he added.

"And this is just a fraction of the ideas that my dear friend has been initiating around Fiji and the Pacific region," said Ratu Inoke during the farewell attended by some members of Cabinet and members of the diplomatic corp.

"He has maintained the high standards we always see amongst our diplomatic circles and he has managed to bring in elements of creativity in his role as High Commissioner," said Ratu Inoke.

HE High Commissioner Kumar said he believed there was a lot more that the two countries could work on to deepen relations.

He thanked the Government for facilitating him during his tenure and said that he realised the bond the two countries shared was very deep.

-ENDS-