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Official welcome for Indian PM Modi
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Official welcome for Indian PM Modi

The Fijian Government plans to hold full traditional iTaukei ceremonies of welcome for visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he arrives in Suva this Wednesday.

A Department of Information statement says in honour of the visit by Mr Modi, the Government and the people of Fiji will hold the ceremonies at Suva’s Albert Park from 9.30am.

Members of the public are welcome to be part of this historic visit.

The Prime Minister of India will be in Suva for an official one-day visit and hold a summit meeting with leaders of other Pacific Island nations.

Fiji and India have 135 years of historical and friendly relations and formal diplomatic relations were established in 1970.

Meanwhile, Mr Modi has told India’s Business Standard newspaper that he is excited ahead of his visit to Fiji, home to a large ethnic Indian population, this week.

In a statement, Modi said it would be a privilege to visit Fiji soon after this year’s elections in this Pacific island nation. This makes him the first international leader to do so.

“We also owe them (Fiji) a debt of gratitude for hosting our scientists on the island in support of our Mars mission,” he said.

“We can build stronger economic co-operation and closer partnership in international and multilateral forums with our friends in Pacific Island.”

The Indian prime minister said he looked forward “to a future of regular engagement and more robust co-operation with Fiji and other Pacific Island countries”.

Modi is also expected to visit the parliamentary complex and make school visits. He will leave for India Nov 20.

He will be the second Indian prime minister to visit Fiji after the late Indira Gandhi’s tour in 1981.

Ethnic Indians comprise 37 per cent of Fiji’s population of nearly 900,000.

Most of them are descendants of indentured labourers who were brought in from India between 1879 and 1916 to work in the country’s sugarcane plantations.

DInfo News/Business Standard

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