Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC)

The Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) was launched during Hon'ble Prime  Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi's visit to Fiji in November 2014.  

  • FIPIC includes 14 of the island countries – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands,  Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga,  Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.  
  • Though these countries are relatively small in land area and distant from India, many have large exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and offer promising possibilities for fruitful cooperation.  
  • India's focus has largely been on the Indian Ocean where it has sought to play a major role and protect its strategic and commercial interests. The FIPIC initiative marks a  serious effort to expand India's engagement in the Pacific region. 
  • At this moment, the total annual trade of about $300 million between the Indian and Pacific  Island countries, whereas exports are around $200 million and imports are around $100 million. 
  • In November 2014, when FIPC was launched, India had offered some major assistance projects.  
  • The projects offered include the setting up of a special USD one million funds for adapting to climate change and clean energy, establishing a trade office in India, Pan Pacific Islands e-network to improve digital connectivity, extending visa on arrival at  Indian airports for all the 14 Pacific Island countries, cooperation in space technology applications for improving the quality of life of the islands, and training to diplomats from Pacific Island countries.  
  • In addition, India has increased the annual "Grant-in-Aid" from USD 125,000 to 200,000  to each of the 14 Pacific Countries for community projects of their choice, and launched a new Visitors Programme for Pacific Island Countries.

OBJECTIVES 

  • Provide necessary information and facilitation regarding prospects of Trade and  Investment 
  • Facilitate meetings between the concerned businessmen from both sides 
  • Exchange of business delegations between India and Pacific Islands Countries 
  • Online & Offline Match Making Services 
  • Organising Events / Trade Fairs 

SIGNIFICANCE: 

  • The FIPIC initiative marks a serious effort to expand India’s engagement in the Pacific region. 
  • India’s focus has largely been on the Indian Ocean where it has sought to play a major role and protect its strategic and commercial interests. 
  • Though these countries are relatively small in land area and distant from India, many have large exclusive economic zones (EEZs), and offer promising possibilities for fruitful cooperation. 
  • The forum focuses on various potential areas between India and these nations like 

o agriculture, fisheries, food processing, solar energy, e-networks for coordination in tele-education, telemedicine, space cooperation and climate change. The Indo-Pacific concept is also seen as an attempt to address the expansion of China and rearrange existing geopolitical configurations. 

  • Replacing ‘Asia’ with ‘Indo’ prioritises the role of India as a contrasting and competing power to China.

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Blog Post written by:
Anurag Trivedi
UPSC Mentor