• The Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) is an international group that was set up in 2014 to help the Republic of India and 14 Pacific Island countries work together. These countries are Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Vanuatu.
• Even though these countries are small and far away from India, many of them have big exclusive economic zones (EEZs) that could be good places to work together.
• India has mostly focused on the Indian Ocean, where it has tried to play a major part and protect its strategic and commercial interests. The FIPIC project is a serious attempt by India to get more involved in the Pacific region.
• The goal is to improve India’s relationships with the PICs in areas like trade, investment, tourism, education, health, agriculture, renewable energy, disaster management, and climate change. • FIPIC also gives people a place to talk about regional and global issues that affect both countries.
At the moment, trade between Indian and Pacific Island countries is worth about $300 million per year. About $200 million goes out and $100 million comes in.
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The main ways India helps the Pacific Island countries are:
• When FIPC was set up in November 2014, India offered some big projects to help. The projects include setting up a special USD 1 million fund for adapting to climate change and clean energy, opening a trade office in India, creating a Pan Pacific Islands e-network to improve digital connectivity, allowing all 14 Pacific Island countries to get visas on arrival at Indian airports, working together to improve the quality of life on the islands through space technology applications, and training diplomats from Pacific Island countries.
India has also raised the annual “Grant-in-Aid” from USD 125,000 to USD 200,000 for each of the 14 Pacific Countries to use on community projects of their choice. They have also started a new Visitors Programme for Pacific Island Countries.
During the second summit of FIPIC, the Hon’ble Prime Minister announced that a FIPIC Trade Office would be set up at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to support trade and investment opportunities between India and Pacific Island Countries.
FICCI will start the Business Accelerator for Forum for India – Pacific Islands cooperation (FIPIC) on September 7, 2015, to make this project even stronger.
• The main goals of the business accelerator are to: Give businesspeople on both sides the knowledge and help they need to make decisions about Trade and Investment
Exchange of business teams between India and Pacific Islands Countries (PICs) Online and offline matchmaking services Events and trade fairs
How important Pacific Island countries are
• Geopolitical Importance: The Pacific Island countries are strategically placed in the vast Pacific Ocean. Big countries like the US, Russia, and China are interested in them because of their possibilities for trade, military presence, and alliances.
• Economic Potential: These countries have valuable natural resources, such as fisheries, minerals, timber, and tourist assets.
Their “exclusive economic zones” (EEZs) have a lot of sea resources as well. They are also hubs for foreign trade because they connect different parts of the Pacific.
o Nine of the ten biggest ports in the world are in this area.
• Cultural and biological diversity: The Pacific Island countries are home to many different native cultures, languages, and traditions that are very important to humanity. Keeping and sharing their unique cultural heritage adds to the diversity of the world as a whole.
• Potential Vote Bank: The 14 PICs are tied together by similar economic and security worries. They have the same number of votes in the United Nations, so they could be used by big powers to rally international support.
Oceania is a region made up of thousands of islands in the Central and South Pacific Ocean. It includes Australia, which is the smallest continent in terms of total land area. Oceania has traditionally been divided into four parts: Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. The marine environment is an important and influential part of both Australia and Oceania.
The Pacific Island Countries (PICs)
The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are 14 countries in the South-West Pacific Ocean. They are the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. The PICs are made up of three main island groups: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.