Seeking to strengthen bilateral ties and ensuring energy security, India today offered a USD 100 million line of credit for development of infrastructure in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and agreed to jointly develop new avenues of cooperation to explore and develop the Pacific nation’s vast oil and gas resources.
India, during a meeting between visiting President Pranab Mukherjee with his PNG counterpart Sir Michael Ogio, also offered a coastal surveillance radar system and Coast Guard patrol vessels to the country as part of its commitment for the mutual maritime security initiative.
After the completion of the maiden two-day visit to PNG by President Mukherjee, the two sides in a joint statement highlighted various international and regional issues including terrorism, India’s candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council and maritime security.
The two sides agreed to establish a mechanism for regular consultations between the foreign ministries of both countries aimed at diversifying bilateral cooperation in areas of shared interest.
“Keeping in view India’s desire to achieve energy security, PNG agreed to develop new avenues of cooperation with India in exploration and development of Papua New Guinea’s vast oil and gas resources through joint ventures and Indian public and private sector investment in new and existing projects,” the joint statement said.
A deal for extending an Indian line of credit of USD 100 million for development of infrastructure in PNG was also signed.
PNG announced a visa-on-arrival facility for Indian tourists travelling to the Pacific Island as a “gesture of reciprocity” as India has already approved a similar facility for the nationals of all Pacific Island countries since last year.
India also announced providing retro-viral drugs and equipment for the treatment of 20,000 HIV patients in PNG for a period of one year.
Both leaders also witnessed signing of the Memorandums of Understanding on agriculture research cooperation between University of Technology in Lae in PNG and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The two sides finalised and signed a MOU for broad ranging cooperation in the health sector.
The two leaders unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and called upon all states to reject the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
“The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in multilateral fora in combating terrorism in all its manifestations and for the early adoption of India’s proposal for a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UN,” it said.
Both leaders also agreed to cooperate in building an international consensus against support and financing of terrorist organisations.
The statement added that Governor General Ogio reiterated his government’s support for India’s candidature for Permanent Membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), especially in light of the constructive role played by it in different multilateral fora and in recognition of its continuous support for the issues that are central to the concerns of small island developing states.
The two leaders said they recognised that there exists great synergy and potential for increased cooperation between the two countries.
“PNG looks forward to greater investments and larger trade volumes with India. Both sides agreed to expedite the conclusion of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) to facilitate investments,” it said.
Both leaders agreed to enhance bilateral relations in the economic, security, defence, education and health sectors.
India and PNG also agreed to promote bilateral collaboration in disaster management.
“In this regard, both leaders noted the endorsement by the Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warnings Systems (RIMES) council in July 2015 of the establishment of the RIMES Sub-Regional Hub for monitoring earthquake/tsunami and extreme weather patterns and climatic conditions in PNG and the Pacific region in PNG with support from India,” it said.
PNG also welcomed India’s initiative to mobilise solar- rich resource countries that lie between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn through the international Solar Alliance, which was launched in Paris on the margins of COP21 last November.