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S Jaishankar holds video conference with Indian envoys in Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands

Officials said the interaction was part of India's overall aim to broaden ties with these countries besides understanding the current situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.

April 30, 2020 / 10:21 PM IST

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday held a video conference with Indian envoys in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua and New Guinea and the Pacific Island countries which are considered important for India's Indo-Pacific vision.

Officials said the interaction was part of India's overall aim to broaden ties with these countries besides understanding the current situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Taking virtual diplomacy to the next level. Began the first of a series of regional reviews. A good video conference with our High Commissioners and Ambassadors in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua & New Guinea and the Pacific Island countries," Jaishankar tweeted.

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He also held separate telephonic conversations with his counterparts from Angola, Djibouti, Paraguay, Guatemala and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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India has been trying to deepen ties with 14 Pacific Island nations. India's relationship with Pacific Island nations deepened with the evolution of Act East Policy, resulting in the setting up of Forum for India-Pacific Island Cooperation (FIPIC).

The first and second editions of the FIPIC took place in Fiji (2015) and Jaipur (2016).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been favouring a close partnership with the Pacific Island nations and has articulated India's readiness to work closely to advance their developmental agenda.

Last year, Modi announced an allocation of $12 million grant to Pacific Island nations towards implementation of high impact developmental projects in the area of their choice.

India has been pushing for a stable and peaceful Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's aggressive military expansionism in the region.

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