Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has expressed Solomon Islands gratitude for the 30-year friendship between the Republic of India and Solomon Islands and desire to further nurture this bond in the spirit of the south-south Cooperation.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a function hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Nagendra Kumar and his wife Madame Saxena for the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and Solomon Islands Government officials at the Heritage Park Hotel. The function was to mark India’s 68th Republic Day on the 8th of February 2017.
“We are thankful for the 30-year friendship we have with India and look forward to many more years of mutual cooperation.”
He said Solomon Islands notes the great strides India made since its Republic Constitution came into force in 1950 to become the world’s largest democracy, an economic powerhouse and a major Asia-Pacific regional power which wields notable influences at the global arena on international issues.
The Prime Minister said Solomon Islands acknowledges India’s growing presence in the Pacific and its grant aid initiative to the Pacific Islands Forum countries including Solomon Islands, adding that this year India’s assistance to Solomon Islands will be in the form of renewable energy.
He said India has been actively sharing its development experiences with fellow commonwealth countries including Solomon Islands and a number of Solomon Islanders have been trained in India in areas such as Information Communication Technology and Governance, in addition to its grant aid scheme.
The Prime Minister added that in the current global atmosphere, sectors such as trade, agriculture and environment require a close partnership and on that note expressed that, “ Solomon Islands is looking to further nurture its partnership in such sectors with India in the spirit of the south-south cooperation.”
South-south cooperation is a framework for collaboration amongst countries of the Global South (developing countries) in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains.
In his remarks at the occasion, Ambassador Kumar acknowledged Solomon Islands desire for an enhanced friendship with India and expressed that India desires the same for its relationship with Solomon Islands.
“India has always shared a warm diplomatic relationship with Solomon Islands but we’ve got to translate that into something more meaningful.
“The mandate given to me by my Prime Minister and President when I was commissioned for my current posting was very clear: Words don’t count, intentions don’t count. It is the deeds that count. And as of today, I hope we are bound on a journey together to nurture our partnership and we will stand by our words with complete deeds.
“India is ready to share in the development efforts of Solomon Islands in the areas of human resources development, curriculum development, agriculture development and pharmaceutical development. We are ready to undertake initiatives and activities that will help increase economic empowerment of Solomon Islanders,” Ambassador Kumar added.
The function followed a courtesy meeting between the Prime Minister and the Ambassador during which they also expressed their countries relationship for an enhanced relationship.
Ambassador Kumar is based in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea to which he is also accredited.