By ANA VURU
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Fiji for a whirlwind one-day visit, during which he will meet Pacific Island leaders for a mini summit and sign several Memoranda of Understanding, including a few with his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama.
Mr Modi arrived at Nausori Airport after a short flight from Nadi at 6am today and was promptly whisked to Suvas Grand Pacific Hotel ahead of a full days schedule.
Meanwhile, the Government announced the closure of several roads to accommodate the official State visit, the first in more than 30 years by a leader from the sub-continent.
The closure happened during his arrival this morning and will later be put into effect when official ceremonies of welcome will be held in his honour at Suvas Albert Park.
The following roads were/will be affected:
– Queen Elizabeth Drive will be cordoned off from the junction of Ratu Sukuna Road at 6am-8.30pm.
– The junction off Gladstone Road above the Suva Tennis Club will also be cordoned off during this time.
Those travelling in from the capital city are advised that traffic will be redirected from the junction of Gladstone Road near Suvavou House.
The public are advised that the road from Nausori Airport to Suva will be closed for approximately 30 minutes on Wednesday morning and again between 8-9pm.
The Government also announced the provision of bus services for those wishing to attend the welcome ceremonies at Albert Park.
Bus companies will pick passengers from four different routes:Route 1- Wainibokasi Road K R Latchan Buses; Route 2- Lokia Road Tebara Buses; Route 3- Bau Road Tebara Buses; Route 4- Nausori Bus Stand- Tebara Buses; and Route 5- Baulevu Road Tebara Buses
Tebara Buses will depart at 8am from Lokia and Bau Road while KR Latchan Beses will depart from Wainibokasi area and return.
District advisory councillors and District Officers will assist the communities in Nausori area.
Last bus to leave Nausori Bus Stand at 8.30am will be in time for the official programme at Albert Park. Once filled, the buses will depart for Albert Park, Suva.
A Government statement has also said that the visit by world leaders to Fiji will be opportunity to showcase Fijis unique traditional iTaukei ceremonies of welcome.
This week the Fijian Government is hosting the President of the Peoples Republic of China, Xi Jinping, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi. At visits, traditional iTaukei ceremonies of welcome will be accorded to both leaders.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who is also the Minister for I-Taukei Affairs, said that high-level visits give different iTaukei communities the opportunity to present their own traditional ceremonies of welcome which are distinct from each other. He added that in this way, the Fijian government is preserving and promoting the practice of iTaukei customs and traditions.