Fiji dy PM to be first foreign leader to visit Ayodhya

New Delhi: Deputy Prime Minister of Fiji, Biman Prasad, who is on a one week-long visit to India starting Sunday, will be the first foreign leader to visit the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Indian origin Prasad, who also serves as the Minister of Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics for his country, plans to visit Ayodhya on February 8 following his trips to New Delhi and Goa. Prasad also plans to visit Gujarat.

Prasad had previously visited India in February 2023 to participate in a high-level Ministerial Session on ‘Strategies for a Sustainable and Decarbonised Future.’

Prasad is an academician of repute who has taught economics across Universities in Australia and has been the Finance Minister of Fiji since 2022.

India-Fiji ties have received a major boost over the last few years with the current government in Suva making special efforts to reach out to New Delhi. Fiji is emerging as an anchor for India in the Pacific region. Last year PM Narendra was conferred the highest award of Fiji.

During a visit to Fiji in February 2023 External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday described the country as an important partner of India and said that he has conveyed to the Fijian leadership that New Delhi has very substantial interests in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

Jaishankar had then said that he had a detailed discussion with Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka about the future of India-Fiji relations.

“The message I brought to him from Prime Minister Narendra Modi was that India’s interests in the Indo-Pacific are very substantial. Whether you look at it as economic, political, security, technology or trade interest,” he had said addressing an Indian Community meet.

The External Affairs minister had also mentioned that the Fijian-Indian community and their contributions are valued and the Fijian government is “keen on upgrading the relationship between the two countries and intensifying cooperation.”

The Government of India is a committed development partner of Fiji, according to a MEA document. Indian assistance extends to sectors such as capacity building through human resource development and training under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programmes. Every year, many ITEC slots are made available to Fijian nationals. India also provides Humanitarian and Disaster Relief assistance from time to time whenever the need arises.

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