By Arul Louis
United Nations, Sep 26 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama have discussed defence cooperation between their countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
After the meeting on Tuesday, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said they were “building upon a historical relationship with an important Pacific partner of India”.
They discussed “development assistance, capacity building and defence cooperation,” he tweeted.
In 2017, during Fiji’s Minster for Defence Ratu Inoke Kubuabola’s visit to New Delhi, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation covering defence industry, military training and humanitarian assistance and disaster management.
The Indian Defence Ministry said at that time Kubuabola and Arun Jaitley, who was holding the defence portfolio then, “discussed expanded defence partnership in maritime security between both the countries, and naval cooperation was identified as an area of promise.”
Sushma Swaraj and Suriname Foreign Minister of Deborah Pollack-Beighle met on Tuesday and discussed cooperation in capacity building, traditional medicine and pharmaceuticals, and followed up to President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Suriname in June, Kumar tweeted.
She also met Estonia’s Foreign Minister of Sven Mikser and “had a good exchange of views on intensifying cooperation in IT, trade and investment, culture, education, tourism and multilateral fora,” he tweeted.
On Wednesday, Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to meet with Nepal’s Prime Minister K.P. Sharma and Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Sushma Swaraj will be speaking at the High-Level Meeting on Climate Change convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and at a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Ministerial Committee on Palestine.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)