The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill has thanked the Prime Minister of India for extending support in healthcare and education to Pacific Island nations, and offered Papua New Guinea’s support to India for proposed reform of the United Nations Security Council that would include India as a permanent member.
The Prime Minister made the comments following a substantial bilateral meeting with his counterpart, the Prime Minister of India, Hon. Mahendra Modi, on the margins of the Forum for India-Pacific Cooperation meeting that was held in India on August 19-21.
Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said outcomes from meeting of the Prime Ministers of India and Papua New Guinea will lead to positive developments in important sectors of the economy. “It has been a long time since a Prime Minister of both countries have sat down and had talks about enhancing the relationship between the two countries,” Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said.
“The Prime Minister of India was very cordial and supported the fact that India is going to continue to increase is engagement with the Pacific, and especially with Papua New Guinea, because of our large economy, large population and the potential that Papua New Guinea has to offer. “India is the fourth largest economy in the world with a big market for Papua New Guinean resources, agriculture and tourism and other sectors.” There are strong economy synergies between the two countries with India requiring resources that Papua New Guinea can offer.
“India is in great need for many for many of the resources that we have particularly oil and gas, and copper and gold. “These are resources that are fuelling the growth of the Indian economy and Papua New Guinea has not been exporting many of these products to India for a long time as many of our customers are from elsewhere.
“Prime Minister Modi has expressed his interest to engage in resources trade and also encourage Indian investment to come into Papua New Guinea to invest in agriculture, in nonrenewable energy and in infrastructure.
“The Indian Government will agree to provide funding of those infrastructure projects through EXIM Bank of India at very favourable rates to the Papua New Guinea Government.
On the other side of the relationship, India is able to provide professional capacity building in Papua New Guinea in areas such as education and healthcare. “Papua New Guinea expressed its appreciation for many of the Indian professionals that have been sent to Papua New Guinea to work, particularly in health and education.
“Our ongoing relationship, and co-operation between the defence forces and many of our officers who come here for defence force training colleges in India, has been beneficial. “We agreed to increase the number of these personnel and that India will help us build our capacity within the public service machinery, particularly in naval bases and naval forces.” As well as an increase in the number of Indian professionals coming to Papua New Guinea, the Prime Minister said there will also be an increase in the number of Papua New Guineans studying in India.
“Prime Minister Modi has stated that they are willing to increase the number of spaces that are available for Papua New Guinean students in India and we are going to formalise that very soon. “These are in both medical and other fields and India is very happy to support us particularly in specialised areas of medical training.”
Finally, Prime Minister Hon. Peter O’Neill said that Papua New Guinea will support India’s desire to have a stronger voice at the United Nations. “Papua New Guinea has agreed to support India’s bid for permanent United Nations Security Council membership.
“It is important that a developing country, which has the second largest population in the region of 1.2 billion Indians, representing one-sixth of the world’s population to be included in United Nations Security Council as a permanent member.
“Papua New Guinea and many of the other Pacific Island leaders agreed to express their support.” Attending the meeting with the Prime Minister was Hon. William Duma, Governor Sasindran Muthuvel, Hon. Richard Maru, Hon. Byron Chan.