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Papua New Guinea has a key role in India’s extended ‘Act East’ policy: Prez

Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) : President Pranab Mukherjee has said Papua New Guinea has a key role in India’s extended “Act East” policy, adding New Delhi views this nation as a gateway to closer cooperation with the Pacific Island Countries.
President Mukherjee said India stands ready to share other knowledge and experience in the field of renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and best practices for increasing food productivity.

“There are many complementarities between India and Papua New Guinea – on which our bilateral cooperation must be based. We are focussed on skills development and innovation with special emphasis on simple and cost effective technologies that are easily adapted to be locally relevant, efficient and successful. Our public sector enterprises and our private sector are keen to work with Papua New Guinea in harnessing its mineral, marine and hydrocarbon resources,” said President Mukherjee.

“As we identify the areas where we would both like to focus our joint efforts, I would say that in this area of cooperation the sky is the limit. We should waste no time in bringing the benefit of our cooperation to our peoples,” he added.

President Mukherjee said the cooperation between our two countries at the United Nations and other multilateral fora has also been close and fruitful.

“India appreciates Papua New Guinea’s steadfast support for India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and also the reforms of this world body which was established after the 2nd World war,” said President Mukherjee.

“At the present time, seven decades after the United Nations was created, we are agreed on the urgent need for reform of its organs to make them relevant and effective in the significantly altered world of the 21st century. We count on Papua New Guinea’s continued support and co-operation in the United Nations and other multilateral for a,” he added.

President Mukherjee said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a number of initiatives for assisting the Pacific Island countries during the first Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Co-operation held at Fiji in November 2014.

“These were aimed at supporting their efforts towards their developmental goals and aspirations and addressing their specific concerns related to climate change and sustainable development,” said President Mukherjee.

“I am happy to note that my Government has delivered on these – through financial assistance, deputation of Indian experts to Papua New Guinea, training of your citizens in India and simplifying the visa process which has been reciprocated by Government of Papua New Guinea yesterday at the banquet hosted in my honour,” he added.

President Mukherjee said the relationship between the two nations is based on strong foundation of historical ties – forged by cultural and economic exchanges over the centuries.

“Even though India is separated from this region by the oceans and continents, we attach high value to the close friendship that exists between India and the island countries of the Pacific Ocean,” said President Mukherjee.

“These bonds have contributed to the mutual understanding between our Governments and our peoples and are at the root of our shared desire to collaborate in areas of our common interest,” he added.

Expressing his delight to be present at the University of Papua New Guinea, President Mukherjee in his address recalled Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi who he said continues, to this day, to be revered all over the world as a beacon of peace and apostle of non-violence.

“His vision and teachings remind humanity of the true values of harmonious co-existence and mutual respect and the need to work together for the equality and freedom of all individuals. In a world that is increasingly vexed by intolerance and extremism, the life and message of this great man remain an inspiring example of the power of truth and universal brotherhood,” he added.

President Mukherjee said Mahatma Gandhi had viewed education as an integrated approach to all round personality development.

“He was emphatic about the difference between ‘learning’ and true education, ‘knowledge’ and actual wisdom and between ‘literacy’ and the real lessons that we learn from life. We, in India, have tried to adhere to these principles as we pursue our goals in the education sector through our national planning and human resource development programmes,” he added.

President Mukherjee further said India has always been happy to share her technical expertise with other developing countries.

“At the Second Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Co-operation held in Delhi and Jaipur in August last year, we had announced the doubling of the number of scholarships earmarked for students from the Pacific Island Countries under our Indian Technical and Economic Co-operation Programme,” said President Mukherjee.

“I invite more students from Papua New Guinea to take advantage of these schemes and attend our institutions of higher education and centres of excellence,” he added.

President Mukherjee said the Indian higher academic system was known the world over in past.

“There were some seats of higher learning like Nalanda, Takshashila, Vikramashila, Valabhi, Somapura and Odantapuri which dominated the world higher education system for almost eighteen hundred years from the beginning of the sixth century BC till 12th century AD. They attracted scholars from far and wide. University of Taxila was confluence of four civilizations,” said President Mukherjee.

“However, we cannot claim that status today. That’s why we now focus on quality of education by establishing institutions of higher learning and technological institutions in different parts of India. There are 730 universities, 13500 colleges, 16 Indian Institute of Technologies and 30 National Institute of Technologies. Two Indian institutions are placed within the top 200 universities in the global ranking system. Two others are ranked within the top 20 young universities in the world,” he added. (ANI)