Fiji-India Relationship to Strengthen Further
Kolkata, 4th July, 2019: A press conference was organized to announce the current initiatives and future plans to strengthen Indo- Fiji trades in Bengal and beyond, today. The event witnessed the presence of His Excellency Yogesh Punja, Honorable High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji to India and Mr. Harsh Vardhan Patodia, newly appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Fiji in Kolkata.
The session touched upon the Kolkata Memorial Project, instituted in the year 2011. The project has meaningful significance to the millions of descendants of those who left India as indentured Indian laborers from 1834 through 1920. There was, and continues to be, overwhelming emotional sentiments and enthusiastic support from all corners of the global Indian Diaspora, in particular from persons of Indian origin (PIOs) in destination countries where Indian indentured laborers emigrated during that period in the history of Indian migration. The High Commission of Fiji in India has decided to partner with the MEA, The Kolkata Port Trust and 7 Diaspora missions in this regard to establish a proper Museum and archive and upgrade the Kolkata Memorial to make it an important tourist destination for the Indian Diaspora.
The aim of this initiative is to promote Fiji in India and vice- versa. The session highlighted the various initiatives taken by the High Commission of Fiji in India to facilitate inter-country trade, investments, and tourism. Apart from the strong bilateral ties, Fiji and India share many common elements such as history, culture, language, and cuisines.
Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Yogesh Punja, Honorable High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji to India accredited to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, said “We are extremely excited to be associated with the Kolkata Memorial Project. As an ode to the momentous history of Fiji and India, we have reached out to several organizations to revive the significant relation between both the countries. We have a plethora of upcoming projects with several major educational institutions like Calcutta University, Rabindra Bharati University, Jadavpur University etc. who will help further this initiative in Kolkata. Apart from this, we have also approached several cultural organizations like the National Library and the Indian Museum to help revive the emotional and historical connections between both countries. “
With the help of Presidency University and Sanskrit College, the consulate aims to inculcate values, virtues and ethics. With Jadavpur University’s support, they aim to dig out archives pertaining to the Kolkata Memorial Project. National Library has also been approached wherein they aim to establish a Fiji corner. The corner will showcase a compilation of literature, art and writings from Fiji as a tribute to the country. The consulate has also approached the Netaji Bhawan Museum with an aim to showcase the struggles, valour and courage during the Freedom struggle in front of the Diasporas.
Rabindra Bharati University has been approached to help open a Rabindranth Tagore Centre in Fiji National Museum and Fiji Arts Council as well.
Mr. Harsh Vardhan Patodia, newly appointed Honorary consul of the Republic of Fiji in Kolkata said, “We have approached the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Calcutta Chamber of Commerce to help improve the business aspects of India-Fiji relationships in various sectors like infrastructure, Solar Power& other renewable resources, Pharma, Healthcare, services and Tourism as well as Timber.For tourism,we are working on a Code Share between Air India and Fiji Airlines to improve the connectivity between the two countries. Special packages have been curated to attract the tourists “
The session also the highlighted that India-Fiji relationship will also improve in the entertainment sector as a rebate of 75% tax will be given to all the filmmakers and producers if a film is shot in Fiji. In the sport sector, they aim rugby to be the connecting factor for both the countries. Rugby is the most popular sport played in Fiji and the Consulate endeavors to inculcate the same love and spirit for the game in India by introducing training and guidance for the same.
During this session, His Excellency Yogesh Punja, Honorable High Commissioner of the Republic of Fiji to India felicitated Mr. Harsh Vardhan Patodia, newly appointed Honorary Consul of the Republic of Fiji in Kolkata.