India on Wednesday announced a $75 million line of credit to Fiji for a co-generation power plant and a $5 million fund to develop its villages even as the two countries agreed to expand their defence and security cooperation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced a visa-on-arrival for Fijians and assistance projects that included a Parliament library and doubling the scholarships and training slots in India for people from Fiji.
The lines of credit were part of three agreements signed between the two countries in the presence of the two leaders.
The Pacific Island nation rolled out a red carpet for Mr. Modi, who was received by his counterpart Frank Bainimarama, at the Suva International airport.
Mr. Modi was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the airport after which he attended the traditional welcome ceremony at Albert park.
“It is a new day and a new beginning in our relations with Fiji,” Mr. Modi said in a joint appearance with Mr. Bainimarama.
“Fiji could serve as a hub for stronger Indian engagement with Pacific Islands. I see this visit as an opportunity to renew an old relationship and lay the foundation for a strong partnership in the future,” he added.
Mr. Modi also addressed the Fijian Parliament, a first by a foreign leader, after parliamentary elections, during which he said that India was prepared to work with Fiji to build a “Digital Fiji”.
Fiji Prime Minister said Mr. Modi’s visit has laid the groundwork for “productive relationship” between the two countries.
Mr. Modi said that India looked forward to closer engagement in areas like Information Technology and space applications.
“I want to convey a special word of gratitude from the people of India for hosting Indian scientists for tracking India’s Mars Mission earlier this year. Together we made history,” he said.
“We are also prepared to increase cooperation in renewable energy, especially solar and wind energy, and in building capacity to adapt to climate change,” he added.
Mr. Modi also suggested Fijian leaders to invite Bollywood to shoot their films in Fiji to attract more Indian tourists.
“Fiji is a leader in the region and a strong voice in the developing world. Together, we can also work for a future in the region, in which there is an equal place for all nations - big and small, developed and developing - and a climate of peace and tranquility,” he added.