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INDIA-PAPUA NEW GUINEA BILATERAL RELATIONS

POLITICAL RELATIONS

    1.  1) India and Papua New Guinea have  formalized diplomatic relations since 19 May 1976. India opened its High Commission in Port Moresby in April 1996.  Diplomatic relations with the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) were earlier conducted from Suva/Kuala Lumpur.  PNG opened its resident Diplomatic Mission in New Delhi in October 2006.   India and Papua New Guinea enjoy warm and friendly relations. The two countries have been working closely in international fora, including the Commonwealth, Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations Organization. 

    1. 2) There have been notable visits from India to PNG. The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, paid a first-ever State Visit to PNG from 28 to 29 April 2016 at the invitation of the Governor General of PNG, Grand Chief Sir Michael Ogio. During the visit, four MoUs were signed on – (a) Agriculture Research Cooperation between University of Technology, Lae (PNG), and Indian Council for Agricultural Research (India); (b) Cooperation in the Health Sector; (c) Indian Line of Credit of US $100 million for Infrastructural Development in PNG; and (d) Setting up a Centre of Excellence in IT by India in PNG. During the visit, the President of India also made an announcement to provide retro-viral drugs and equipment for HIV patients in PNG, which were later supplied by the Government of India.

    1. 3) Other important visits from India included – (i) a 3-member delegation led by Dr. M. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, to participate in the 3rd Ministerial Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) Conference, held in Port Moresby on 23-25 August 2017; (ii) a 2-member delegation from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), comprising CA M. Devaraja Reddy, former ICAI President, and CA Mangesh P. Kinare, ICAI Council Member, who visited Port Moresby from 17-19 July 2018 to hold discussions with the Certified Practicing Accountants (CPA PNG) and the Society of Indian Chartered Accountants Inc (SICA), in order to facilitate and support the application of CPA PNG for its membership in the International Federation of Accountants( IFAC); (iii) a 3-member Indian delegation, comprising two representatives of EXIM Bank of India – Ms. Meena Verma, GM, New Delhi, and Ms. Aparna Kulkarni, representative in Singapore – and  Mr. S. Chinpau Ngaihte, Under Secretary (DPA-I), Ministry of External Affairs, who visited PNG from 25-29 November 2018 and met the local authorities to finalize the Agreement of Indian Line of Credit of US $100 million to finance infrastructure related projects (US $60 million for Bayer-Madang road project and US $40 million for Hoskins-Kimbe road project) in PNG. The delegation also visited the site of Hoskins-Kimbe road project.

    1. 4) The Indian Naval Ship 'Sahyadri', commanded by Captain Anil Jaggi with more than 200 crew members on board, paid a goodwill visit to Port Moresby from 12-15 June 2017. The then High Commissioner of India and Captain Anil Jaggi jointly hosted a Dinner on Board on 13 June for about 300 dignitaries from PNG Defence Forces, Government officials, Diplomatic Missions, Indian businessmen and community members. This was the second visit; the first one was from 22-24 July 2006 by the Indian Missile Frigate Naval Ship 'Tabar'.

    1. 5) There have been regular high level visits from PNG to India. The highest level visit from PNG was by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who visited India for the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit, held in Jaipur on 21 August 2015, and outlined PNG’s desire to see greater engagement by India with Pacific Island nations in the field of climate change, natural disasters, healthcare, education and other areas. Prime Minister Peter O’Neill held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Summit.

    1. 6) There were several other important visits from PNG to India – (i) Chief Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato, accompanied by two officials from PNG Election Commission, visited Bengaluru from 10-16 May 2018 to witness Karnataka Assembly elections and interacted with BEL officials regarding supply of EVMs/VVPATs to PNG; (ii) A PNG delegation led Minister for ICT and Energy Sam Basil visited India to attend the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance held in New Delhi on 11 March 2018; (iii) A 25-member PNG delegation, led by Minister for National Planning & Monitoring Richard Maru, visited India from 10-16 December 2017. The delegation also included Minister for ICT and Energy Sam Basil, Minister for Education Nick Kuman, and West New Britain Province Governor Sasindran Muthuvel; (iv) Ms. Janet Sape, President/Founder of PNG Women in Business, participated in the Distinguished Visitors Programme which was held in India from 8-17 February 2016; (v) Minister of Trade, Commerce & Industry Richard Maru visited India in January 2013 to attend the Partnership Summit 2013. He was accompanied by a delegation consisting of West New Britain Province Governor Sasindran Muthuvel and officials of Investment Promotion Agency. He held bilateral talks with India’s Minister of Commerce & Industry Anand Sharma; (vi) Minister for Petroleum & Energy William Duma was invited as the Chief Guest at the Founding Day celebrations of Petronet LNG Ltd in New Delhi on 2 April 2013. He visited India from 30 March to 3 April 2013. He was accompanied by an 8-member delegation, which included senior officials of his Ministry, an Adviser from Prime Minister’s office and a few businessmen. Petronet/OVL delegations from India later visited PNG twice and held discussions with State-owned Petromin LNG Holdings Ltd and various stakeholders in the LNG sector.  An in-principle agreement was reached with Petromin for India off-taking of 22.5% gas from the proposed Gulf LNG Project. Discussions were also held with InterOil and others concerned for possible Indian participation in the Gulf LNG Project; (vii) A Parliamentary delegation, led by Speaker Theodore Zurenuoc, visited India from 26-30 August 2013 to bolster Parliamentary linkages between the two Commonwealth Parliamentary democracies; (viii) Brigadier General Francis Agwi, Chief of PNGDF, visited India in June 2013 to attend the passing out ceremony of PNGDF Cadet Officer at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.  During the visit, he held meetings with the Chief of Indian Army, Chief of Indian Navy and Vice-Chief of Indian Air Force in New Delhi; and (ix) Foreign Minister Sam Abal paid a 4-day visit to India in July 2009. This was the first-ever bilateral Ministerial visit between the two countries during which he met India’s External Affairs Minister, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Minister of State (ST) in Ministry of External Affairs, and Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

HUMANITARIAN AID AND OTHER ASSISTANCE

    1. 7) India has been providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief to PNG from time to time.  The latest assistance has been in the form of drugs for HIV/AIDS patients in PNG.  A consignment of 7.2 million dosages of anti-retro viral drugs received from India, valued at approximately US $3 million, was handed over to the Government of PNG in November 2016 by the Indian High Commissioner. Computers and peripherals worth US $760,000 out of the cumulative grant-in-aid under India's Regional Assistance to Pacific Island Countries were provided to the Government of PNG during the year 2017-18. India has also been assisting PNG in their capacity-building efforts by way of training under Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) and Colombo Plan. Aid proposals in various other fields submitted by the Government of PNG, under the annual grant-in-aid, are under implementation by the Indian side.

    1. 8) The Centre of Excellence in Information Technology, agreed to be set up in PNG with Indian financial and technical grant, is near completion and expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2019 at the University of PNG.

    1. 9) The Government of India announced in 2018 to extend a grant of US $1 million to PNG towards earthquake relief in areas that were affected by the earthquake that struck PNG in February 2018.

ECONOMIC & COMMERCIAL RELATIONS

    1. 10) The bilateral trade figures between the two countries for the last four years are as follows:

                                                                                    Values in million US dollar


Year >>

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

Export from India to PNG

43.96

52.19

39.45

36.35

41.93

Import into India from PNG

178.30

157.29

179.59

108.06

196.19

Total Bilateral Trade

222.26

209.48

219.04

144.41

238.12


    1. 11) The main items of export from India to PNG include textiles, machinery & equipment, food items, manufactured goods, pharmaceuticals, surgical items, soap, washing powder, paper pulp, etc. However, these are not reflective of the actual trade since import of many Indian goods is via third countries.  The main items of import into India from PNG are gold, copper ores & concentrates, timber, copra, marine products, coffee, vanilla and cocoa.

    1. 12) The first-ever  CII delegation from India paid a 4-day visit to Papua New Guinea from 14-18 February 2016 to explore business opportunities. The delegation held meetings and interactions with a number of high ranking dignitaries, including the Prime Minister; Minister of Trade, Commerce & Industry; Minister for Mines; Minister for Petroleum; Minister for Transport and Infrastructure; Minister of Public Enterprises and State Investments; Minister of Health; Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture; Governor of West New Britain Province; Governor of National Capital District (NCD); Governor of the Western Highlands Province; Governor of Hela Province; and other high level officials and dignitaries at different events. The Prime Minister's wife hosted the lady delegation members at the National Parliament of PNG.

CULTURAL RELATIONS

    1. 13) The cultural interactions/initiatives include visit of an ICCR-sponsored Siddhi Dhamal dance troupe from India to PNG in October 2013.  The troupe performed at the open Jack Pidik Park in Port Moresby which was hosted by the Governor of National Capital District Commission (NCDC) and was well attended.  On 7-12 June 2013, in association with the University of Papua New Guinea, the High Commission of India organized an Indian Film Festival at the University. A set of the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi was also presented to the University of PNG Library separately.

    1. 14) On the International Day of Yoga in 2015, a Yoga demonstration was organized by the Mission at the Ela Beach where a number of PNG nationals participated. In 2016, the International Day of Yoga was celebrated at four different locations in PNG - Port Moresby, Kokopo, Wewak and Goroka. In Port Moresby, the event was held at the prestigious Taurama & Aquatics and Sports Stadium on 21 June with about 600 participants. The occasion was graced by the wife of the Prime Minister, Ms. Lynda Babao O’Neill. Senior dignitaries, including the Governor of NCD, Minister of Petroleum, Governor of West New Britain and members of the Diplomatic Community, and members of the Indian Diaspora and sporting teams in Port Moresby also participated. In 2017, the International Day of Yoga was celebrated in Port Moresby, Kimbe, Madang and Lae. In Port Moresby the event was co-hosted by the Mission and Governor of National Capital District Powes Parkop at Ela Murray School ground.  Around 200 persons from different walks of life participated. In 2018, the 4th International Day of Yoga was celebrated in conjunction with the University of Papua New Guinea on 21 June 2018.  Around 150 yoga enthusiasts participated in the Yoga event. Governor of West New Britain Province Sasindran Muthvel, who is Pravasi Bharatiya Samaan Awardee, was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

    1. 15) An MoU between Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the PNG University of Technology (UNITECH), Lae, was signed on 17 August 2018 by High Commissioner Vijai Kumar on behalf of ICCR, to establish a long-term ICCR Chair of Indian Studies at UNITECH.   

    1. 16) There are approximately 3,000 members of Indian Diaspora in PNG. They include professionals like Chartered Accountants, University Professors, School Teachers, and Doctors. Some are engaged in professions like IT, finance, trading, business, missionary work, etc.   There are influential Indians owning, directly or in partnership, prominent super stores and businesses. Governor of the West New Britain Province of PNG Sasindran Muthvel is of Indian origin and Pravasi Bharatiya Samaan Awardee. The India Association of PNG is quite active. The Indian Community is making significant contributions to the economy and society in PNG. 

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31 January 2019



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