Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be participating in two summits next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York – The India-Caribbean (CARICOM) island summit and the India-Pacific Island summit. The primary focus will be on climate change, blue economy and how India can partner in their development needs.
This is the first India Caribbean Island summit that is scheduled to take place. India's envoy to United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin, met with his counterpart envoys from CARICOM member nations. As many as 20 countries make up the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), of which 15 are full members while five are associate members.
Full members of CARICOM are – Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
India has increased its political engagement with Caribbean island countries where the link traditionally has been cricket and several Indian-origin people whose ancestors were taken to that part of the world by the British during the colonial time.
Grenada's PM Keith Mitchell had said, "Relationship with India grown over the years". Keith Mitchell has played cricket with many Indian cricketers including Kapil dev and has been a fan of Indian cricket.
Earlier in September, New Delhi announced $1 million humanitarian assistance to The Bahamas, which was devasted by Hurricane Dorian.
Prime Minister Modi is also slated to participate in the third Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) or India Pacific Island countries summit. The first summit took place in 2014 when PM Modi visited Fiji while the second summit took place in Jaipur in 2015.
There are 14 countries in the Pacific island nations group – Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. India provides USD 200,000 per year to each of the Pacific Island States.