Jaipur, Aug 21: Pushing for deeper cooperation with 14 nations of strategically-located Pacific region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced a number of initiatives, including setting up of a space station in any of the countries and developing capacities in disaster management.
Addressing the Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Island Conference (FIPIC) here, he said cooperation could immediately begin with research collaboration and capacity building with institutions in India.
He offered to create capacity in these Island states in dealing with natural disasters, including through human resource development and application of space technology for early warning system and incident response.
Talking about Indian Navy's support and capacity building efforts in island states in Indian Ocean, he pitched for goodwill visits by Indian Navy to Pacific Islands saying the ships could also provide support to the islands in areas like healthcare through medical camps.
Modi, while highlighting Fiji's support for India's Mars Mission, talked about establishing a Space Technology Applications Centre in any one of the Pacific Island countries, for the entire region.
He told the assembly of heads of states and governments and other delegates that efforts would be made to enhance support for training in space applications, including through customised courses.
Modi, who also had bilateral meetings with a number of leaders present here, hoped for continuing support from the Pacific Islands for Telemetry, Tracking and Command for the country's missions in the future.
He also proposed to hold an International Conference on Ocean economy and Pacific Island Countries in New Delhi next year for officials and experts of all the 14 Pacific Island countries.
In the area of human resource development, he announced that Fiji will get 110 slots for the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation and the number of slots for remaining 13 countries will be doubled from 119 to 238.
Modi also announced two scholarships for college education in India to each of the 13 countries that do not receive them yet, while continuing with the 33 scholarships presently offered to Fiji.
We will expand our training courses for Pacific Island diplomats and a two-week business management course at the Indian Institute of Management in Bengaluru, he said.
In a move aimed at saving kerosene worth about a million US dollars and providing livelihood to women, Modi said that India would train 70 women solar engineers from the islands and provide solar electrification to 2,800 houses - 200 houses in each Pacific Island Country.
India, he announced, will also establish at least one information technology laboratory in each Pacific Island country that will not only improve local IT infrastructure, but also enable the countries in fulfilling our commitment to provide tele-medicine and tele-education to the people.