Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held talks with his Papua New Guinea counterpart James Marape and the island nation's Governor-General Bob Dadae separately and stressed on strengthening the partnership between the two countries across multiple sectors.
Modi, who arrived here on Sunday on his maiden visit to the nation, will host a key summit between India and 14 Pacific island countries to boost bilateral ties.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in a tweet, said, "PM Narendra Modi arrives at the iconic APEC House located on the shores of Ela Beach in Port Moresby. Warmly welcomed by PM James Marape. The two leaders will co-host the FIPIC III Summit, fostering regional cooperation.
According to the MEA spokesperson, discussions between the two prime ministers covered a range of issues, including strengthening partnerships in multiple sectors, climate action as well as promoting people-to-people ties.
"Synergising India-Papua New Guinea relations. PM Narendra Modi held a fruitful bilateral meeting with PM James Marape. PM Modi expressed his appreciation to PM Marape for co-hosting the FIPIC III Summit in Port Moresby.
"Discussions covered strengthening partnership across sectors of trade and investment, health, capacity building and skill development and IT. Also discussed issues related to climate action and promoting people-to-people ties," he said.
FIPIC was launched during Modi's visit to Fiji in 2014. The summit will take place at a time when China is making efforts to enhance its military and diplomatic influence in the region.
Posting a photo of him shaking hands with Marape, PM Modi said on Twitter, "Prime Minister James Marape and I had very productive talks, covering the full range of bilateral relations between India and Papua New Guinea. We discussed ways to augment cooperation in commerce, technology, healthcare and in addressing climate change."
During the meeting, Modi and Marape also launched a translation of the Tamil classic 'Thirukkural' in the Tok Pisin language of Papua New Guinea.
"Indian diaspora keeping alive connect with the motherland! PM Modi and PM James Marape launched a translation of the Tamil classic 'Thirukkural' in the Tok Pisin language of Papua New Guinea.
"Co-authored by Subha Sasindran and Governor Sasindran Muthuvel of West New Britain Province, the book brings Indian thought and culture closer to the people of Papua New Guinea," MEA spokesperson Bagchi added.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi met Papua New Guinea's Governor-General Bob Dadae at the Government House.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts off the day in Papua New Guinea with a warm conversation with Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae at the historic Government House. Underlined the significance of India-Papua New Guinea relations ties and development partnership between the two countries," MEA spokesperson Bagchi said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Modi posted photos of his meeting with Governor-General Dadae on his official Twitter handle.
"Had a wonderful meeting with Governor-General of Papua New Guinea, Sir Bob Dadae. We talked about ways to deepen bilateral relations between our nations across different sectors," Modi said.
The Indian prime minister arrived here on Sunday evening from Japan where he attended the summit of the G7 advanced economies and held bilateral meetings with several world leaders.
His visit to Papua New Guinea on the second leg of his three-nation tour is the first ever by any Indian prime minister. He was received at the airport by Prime Minister James Marape who touched his feet as a mark of respect.
Normally Papua New Guinea doesn't give a ceremonial welcome to any leader coming after sunset. But a special exception was made for Prime Minister Modi and a ceremonial welcome was accorded to him.
The FIPIC Summit will see participation from leaders of 14 countries. Normally all of them rarely converge together due to connectivity and other issues, sources said.
FIPIC includes Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.