India ramps up Pacific support, opens a research institute

May 23, 2023 4:27 pm

[Source: Fiji Government/ Facebook]

India has joined a large cohort of traditional Pacific allies that are ramping up support in the region.

This follows the inauguration of the Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Research Institute at the University of the South Pacific yesterday.

The Institute is part of India’s Act East Policy, an effort to cultivate extensive economic and strategic relations with Southeast Asian nations in order to strengthen India’s standing as a regional power and a counterweight to China’s strategic influence.

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[Source: Fiji Government/ Facebook]

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi while addressing the 14 Pacific Leaders during the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation, says the institute re-establishes India’s commitment to the region.

“This institute connects India’s experiences in sustainable development with the vision of Pacific Island countries.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of Education USP, Professor Jito Vanualailai, says the Institute will help spearhead research and development initiatives that address pressing issues in the region.

“With the dedicated focus on areas of common interests such as coastal vulnerabilities, coastal erosion, coastal protection, monitoring and mapping of marine biodiversity, ocean observation systems, seawater quality monitoring and capacity building.”

The institute will serve as the central hub for research and development catering to the needs of all Pacific Island countries in the areas of coastal and ocean marine science, climate change, and ocean management.