In Fiji, violence against women and girls has cost the economy approximately FJ$300 million ($134 million) annually, which is equivalent to 7 per cent of the island nation's gross domestic product (GDP).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today slammed what he called barriers arising in the supply chains of food, fuel, fertilizer and pharmaceuticals even as he announced a 12-point programme to strengthen India’s partnership with Pacific Island nations.
”Climate change, natural disasters, hunger, poverty, and various health-related challenges were already prevalent. Now, new issues are emerging,” he noted while co-chairing the third India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Papua New Guinea with the country’s Prime Minister James Marape.
Pointing out that the world has gone through a difficult period of Covid pandemic and many other challenges, he said the impact of these challenges has been felt most by the countries of the Global South.
”(But) those whom we considered trustworthy, it turned out that they were not standing by our side in times of need. During these challenging times, an old saying has proven true: A Friend in need is a friend indeed,” he said in an obvious dig at the developed world over the lack of vaccine equality.
Modi said he was glad that India stood with Pacific Island nations during this challenging time. Whether it was vaccines or essential medicines, wheat or sugar; India, in line with its capabilities, has been assisting all partner countries.
”As I have said before, for me, you are not Small Island States, but Large Ocean Countries. It is this vast ocean that connects India with all of you. Indian philosophy has always viewed the world as one family,” he told the leaders attending the meeting.
India, the PM said, considered it a responsibility to bring the issues, expectations and aspirations of the Global South to the attention of the world through the G-20 platform. India has set ambitious targets on the issue of climate change, and the country was working rapidly towards them, he added.
While prioritising food security, India has also focused on nutrition and environmental conservation. The year 2023 has been declared as the International Year of Millets by the UN. India has given the status of “Shree Ann” to this superfood, he said.
Meanwhile, the Indian leader announced a 12-step programme to propel India’s partnerships with Pacific Island countries.
“It will fulfill the developmental aspirations of the people of the region and consolidate the shared vision of a free, open and prosperous Indo- Pacific. fulfil consolidate the shared vision of a free, open and prosperous Indo- Pacific,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The 12-steps included opening up a new 100-bed regional super speciality hospital in Fiji and setting up a Regional IT and Cyber Security Training Hub in Papua New Guinea; “Sagar Amrut Scholarships -1000 scholarships in the next 5 years; and Jaipur Foot Camp in Papua New Guinea in 2023.