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SPEECH BY H.E. MR. VIJAI KUMAR,  HIGH COMMISSIONER OF INDIA TO PAPUA NEW GUINEA AT THE CEREMONY OF HIS PRESENTATION OF LETTERS OF CREDENCE TO H.E. GRAND CHIEF SIR BOB DADAE, GCL, GMG, KSt, GOVERNOR GENERAL OF THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA ON 31 JULY 2018

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Excellency,

1.           I am honoured and pleased to present to Your Excellency, the Letter of Credence from my President, accrediting me as the High Commissioner of India to your beautiful country.

2.           I take this opportunity to present to you, Excellency, the Letter of Recall of my predecessor.

3.           I have the honour to convey the assurances from my President of his high esteem and constant friendship.

India and Papua New Guinea enjoy cordial and multi-faceted relations. India attaches high priority to its relation with Papua New Guinea. Government of India’s Act East Policy focuses primarily on consolidating our relations with all the Pacific Island countries including Papua New Guinea which is a very close friend and a valued partner in Pacific Islands for India.  There is a great momentum in India – Papua New Guinea bilateral relation after the visit of Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee to Papua New Guinea in April, 2016.  We should continue our high-level engagements.  We would like to see strengthening of our engagements in all the fields including political, security, defence, commercial, etc.  Papua New Guinea is an important development partner of India under the framework of South-South Cooperation. 


Excellency,

4.           India and Papua New Guinea have a common world view on most international and regional issues and have been supporting each other in the United Nations and other multilateral fora. I would like to profusely thank you and your Government for extending Papua New Guinea’s crucial support for India’s candidature for Permanent Membership in the expanded UN Security Council.

5.           I take this opportunity to assure you of India’s continuous support for the issues that are central to the concerns of Small Island Developing States.

6.           The FIPIC Summit structure has provided our two countries the opportunity to engage with each other at the highest level to further deepen our relationship.

 

Excellency,

7.           India is committed to assist Papua New Guinea in capacity building and human resource development.

8.           Supported by its planning, managerial skills and implementation expertise and technological advancement, India can be an excellent partner for sustainable development in Papua New Guinea and for optimal management and utilization of Papua New Guinea's abundant natural resources for the benefit of its people. India is ever willing to share its developmental experience with the friendly people of Papua New Guinea, especially in

 

a.     Information Technology

b.     Agriculture

c.     Health and pharmaceuticals

d.     Education

e.     Trade and Commerce

f.      Defence and Security, and

g.     Tourism

9.           At present, India offers 10 short-term skill enhancement scholarships in diverse fields every year to Papua New Guinea nationals under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. If these slots are fully utilized on a regular basis, India can increase the number of slots, and further consider devising specific training programmes to accommodate Papua New Guinea's special requirements, if any.

10.        Currently, India offers three slots annually to Papua New Guinea  students for post-graduate courses under the General Scholarship Scheme of the ICCR.

11.        India has also been providing Defence Training to Papua New Guinea's defence personnel every year on a regular basis.

12.        As you are aware, as part of the Regional Assistance for Pacific Island countries, India has been offering an annual Grant-in-Aid of US $200,000 to Papua New Guinea for social and economic development programmes.

13.        India would like Papua New Guinea to make speedy progress on the MoU for an Indian Line of Credit of US $100 million, which was signed in 2016 for development of infrastructure in Papua New Guinea.

14.        There is some progress on the setting up of an India-Papua New Guinea Centre of Excellence in Information Technology at the University of Papua New Guinea. We need to work together to ensure that the Centre is launched without further delay.

15.        India has provided Anti-Retro-Viral Drugs for the treatment of HIV patients in Papua New Guinea and is willing to help further.

16.        The two countries have finalized a Work Plan under the MoU signed between the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the University of Technology of Papua New Guinea to promote and accelerate progress and cooperation in horticulture, agricultural research and development, and students and staff exchange. For this, an Implementation Schedule received from India is pending consideration and approval of the Papua New Guinea University of Technology in Lae.

Excellency,

17.        Papua New Guinea has great potential to contribute to India’s search for Energy Security. Indian companies can explore opportunities that exist here to invest in sectors like oil and gas exploration, mining, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, information & technology, and education.

18.        I am glad to inform you that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has decided to support the application of CPAPNG for its IFAC membership, which is expected to come through in November this year or in February next year.   I am also happy  to note that there is a vibrant Indian community which is contributing to the economy and society in Papua New Guinea.


Excellency,

19.        It may be recalled that during the visit of the President of India to your great country in April 2016, the two sides agreed to establish a mechanism for regular consultations between our Foreign Ministries to diversify and further strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas of shared interest. To translate the vision of our leaders, may I propose to set up a Bilateral Dialogue at the level of Joint Secretary-Director General level, which could take place once in a year on a rotational basis? 

Excellency,

20.        A few vital matters that require attention are as follows:

a.     Implementation of the ‘visa on arrival’ facility for Indian tourists travelling to Papua New Guinea, which is long pending after its announcement during the visit of the President of India in 2016, would help promote tourism to your beautiful country and strengthen people-to-people contacts and foster greater mutual understanding, which might as well lead to greater Indian investment in Papua New Guinea.

b.     Our two countries have vast potential for greater investment and larger trade volume. The two sides need to expedite the conclusion of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to facilitate investment.

c.     Utilization of the US $100 million Indian Line of Credit is long pending.

d.     Launch of the Centre for Excellence in IT at the University of Papua New Guinea needs to be expedited.

e.     The Joint Working Group on Health should meet as soon as possible.

f.      The two sides should seriously explore the possibility of setting up of an Indian pharmaceutical production facility in Papua New Guinea.

g.     During the President of India’s visit, Papua New Guinea agreed to develop new avenues of cooperation with India in exploration and development of Papua New Guinea's vast oil and gas resources through joint ventures and Indian public and private sector investments in new and existing projects. Both sides need to work together for desired outcomes in this matter.

h.     India has requested for Papua New Guinea's support for India’s re-election to the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the term 2019-21 during the 23rd Session of the Conference of State Parties to CWC in November 2018.

i.      India hopes for the Ministerial participation from Papua New Guinea at the 3rd Indian Ocean Conference, to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam on 27 & 28 August 2018.

j.      Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) has decided to slowly phase out the short-term ICCR Chair in Indian Studies and replace it with a long-term Chair for at least a two-year duration. For universities which are interested in having an Indian Professor to teach a course only on a short-term, the ICCR will soon be coming up with the Visiting Professor Scheme for which the selection criteria and process will be different from that of the Chair. Therefore, both sides need to revisit the existing MoU and take a decision accordingly.

k.     The Indian side awaits details from the Papua New Guinea side for the solar electrification of the Port Moresby Airport.

l.      We hope to receive greater cooperation and collaboration of the Papua New Guinea authorities at the highest possible levels at events commemorating the International Day of Yoga in different provinces of Papua New Guinea for wider outreach and in order to be able to extend preventive healthcare benefits to the residents of Papua New Guinea.  I am happy to inform that the High Commission has a Yoga Teacher from India, who is teaching yoga in Papua New Guinea. 

m.   To promote cultural exchange and people-to-people contacts, ICCR has decided to send a Folk Dance Troupe to perform in the Goroka Festival this year. The Indian side needs to know details of the programme and acceptance of the Indian offer.

Excellency,

21. I express my deepest condolences for the destruction and loss of life caused by the massive earthquake that struck in four of the provinces in Papua New Guinea in February 2018. I convey to you that the Government of India has agreed to make a contribution of US $1 million towards the disaster relief efforts. While 50% of the contribution will be made soon in cash, the balance will be used towards the water purification equipment as per the specific requirement of the Papua New Guinea Government.

Excellency,

22. I consider it a great honour to be appointed as High Commissioner of India to Papua New Guinea.  I am thankful for the warmth and courtesies extended to me on my arrival when I was received at the airport by the Chief of the State Protocol, H.E. Mr. Morea Veratau, and thereafter.   During my tenure, it shall be my endeavour to exert utmost efforts in order to further strengthen and consolidate our friendly bilateral relations.

Excellency,

23. We wish you and the Government of Papua New Guinea every success in organizing the forthcoming APEC Summit in Port Moresby.

24. Recalling the invitation extended by the President of India during his visit to Papua New Guinea, we look forward to receiving you in India on mutually agreed dates.

Thank you, Excellency!
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Port Moresby, 31 July 2018



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