Mar 9, 2007

An Opening in Fiji

Recently Fiji's minister for external affairs and foreign trade, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, visited India and sought assistance from the Indian government for Fiji’s interim administration's roadmap to democratic rule. Help has been sought for electoral reform, the judiciary, defence training for service personnel, and trade and economic cooperation. Also discussed was co-operation in all areas of tourism and culture and to promote Fiji as a destination for Indian tourists.

The talks have been positive and a Fiji government statement has described Ratu Epeli's visit to India as a great success.

This is indeed positive news as there was a fear of the new administration in Fiji under Commodore Frank Bainimarama moving closer to China to offset political and economic sanctions imposed by Australia and New Zealand.

India should take maximum advantage of this opening from the new Fiji govt. This should be our playground as Fiji has a sizable ethnic Indian population and we should not shy away. We should be proactive and give all possible assistance to the Bainimarama’s regime and make sure Fiji under him doesn’t get closer to China at any cost. We should remember that the ethnic Indian population of Fiji has welcomed this coup because Commodore Frank Bainimarama wants a non-discriminating Fiji for all.

It remains to be seen whether the Congress-led UPA govt. maximises our strategic interests in Fiji via this opening or squanders away this too as another Congressman did many eons ago.

Related Link: This is about the new power game in Fiji. China indeed has made big strides and is playing its cards deftly. India has also made its move but in small steps.

No comments: