Indian foreign policy seeks ‘greater fairness and justice’, Jaishankar tells Fiji

Foreign policy is beginning to reflect India’s socio-economic concerns, Dr. Jaishankar said on a visit to Fiji where he took part in the World Hindi Conference, part of India’s global cultural diplomacy

February 16, 2023 12:15 pm | Updated March 06, 2023 01:51 am IST - New Delhi

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar meets Prime Minister of Fiji Sitiveni Rabuka, in Suva, Fiji on February 16, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar via PTI

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar meets Prime Minister of Fiji Sitiveni Rabuka, in Suva, Fiji on February 16, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@DrSJaishankar via PTI

India’s foreign policy aims to uphold “greater fairness and justice”, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Thursday, adding that India was looking for partners to “transform” the world.

Dr. Jaishankar was addressing a community gathering in the Fijian capital of Suva, where he participated in the 12th World Hindi Conference, co-hosted by the governments of India and Fiji. He also met Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and was welcomed into a session of the Fijian parliament. 

“What for me has changed in the foreign policy is today, foreign policy is beginning to reflect lot of the deep socio-economic concerns we have in India, just like we are transforming the world within the country, we want to also transform the world outside. We know that it’s not something any country can do alone,” Dr. Jaishankar said, addressing the community event where he highlighted India’s vaccine diplomacy. 

‘Heritage exercise’

Earlier, Dr. Jaishankar met Mr. Rabuka and thanked the government of Fiji for jointly hosting the World Hindi Conference that has been a regular feature of India’s cultural diplomacy to promote Hindi worldwide. He described the conference as a “very important heritage exercise”. 

“In terms of our discussions with the Prime Minister and his senior colleagues today, we reviewed our bilateral ties. We discussed very openly the possibility of adding to it substance, of improving its quality,” the External Affairs Minister said, addressing a joint press conference with the Fijian PM. He reminded journalists that India has been a “fast responder” and assisted Fiji in its “difficult times”, during the aftermath of category 5 cyclone Yasa in 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pacific focus

The visiting Indian Minister said that both sides held discussions on regional and global issues of mutual concern and agreed to strengthen multilateral coordination. India is focused on the Pacific region because of the Indo-Pacific initiative, said Dr. Jaishankar, announcing that the third summit of the Forum for India Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) would be held in the “coming months”. 

FIPIC was launched in 2014 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Fiji, and includes 14 island nations located around the Pacific Ocean. Under this initiative, India is expected to provide Fiji and other Pacific nations with assistance to deal with climate change and disaster management tools. India’s relationship with Fiji has been dynamic in the last two months since a coalition government came to power. It includes the Indian-origin Fijian leader of the National Federation Party, Biman Prasad, as the Deputy PM and Finance Minister. 

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