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Papua New Guinea PM James Marape Welcomes PM Modi by Touching His Feet

Modi's visit to Papua New Guinea marks the first visit of any Indian premier to the island nation

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

INDIA/ PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Papua New Guinea on May 21 to host the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC), where he received a warm welcome from Prime Minister James Marape, who, in a gesture of respect, touched PM Modi’s feet.

PM Modi Papua New Guinea
Photo Credit: Twitter/seeker_sathya

Although the nation generally doesn’t give a ceremonial welcome to the leaders arriving after sundown, a special exception has been made for PM Modi. A full ceremonial welcome will be accorded to India’s Modi. His visit to Papua New Guinea marks the first visit of any Indian prime minister to the island nation.

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After the two leaders embraced each other, Premier Marape reached for Prime Minister Modi’s feet. The two gave each other another hug before turning to face the other dignitaries who had come to receive PM Modi.

PM Modi arrived in the Pacific Island nation after 10 p.m. (local time). After reaching Papua New Guinea, Modi tweeted, “Reached Papua New Guinea. I am thankful to PM James Marape for coming to the airport and welcoming me. This is a very special gesture that I will always remember. I look forward to boosting India’s ties with this great nation during my visit.”

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In response to James Marape’s “remarkable gesture” for PM Modi, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted, “The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea pays respects to the Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi Ji by touching his feet. This profound visual exemplifies India’s growth and influence under the leadership of PM Modi.”

Papua New Guinea’s West New Britain Province Governor Sasindran Muthuvel, who was a member of the delegation that greeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported that PM James Marape touched PM Modi’s feet out of great respect for him.

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Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said PM Modi received a ceremonial welcome, a guard of honour, and a 19-gun salute in addition to PM James Marape’s unique gesture of welcoming him at the airport.

PM Modi travelled from Japan, where he attended the G7 advanced economies conference and had bilateral meetings with several foreign leaders, to arrive here.

James Marape and Narendra Modi will be hosting the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) on Monday (today). Additionally, he is set to meet with Bob Dadae, the Governor General of Papua New Guinea, and have a private meeting with James Marape.

The main topics of discussion on Monday are expected to be climate change and development. India hosted the last such summit eight years ago. 52-year-old James Marape extraordinarily welcomed India’s Modi and hasn’t done the same for any other leaders.

Marapei is the island nation’s eighth prime minister and has previously served in other important cabinet posts. Additionally, he has held the positions of parliamentary secretary for works and transport and a member of the parliamentary referral committee for inter-government relations.

Following talks with James Marape, Prime Minister Modi wrote on Twitter, saying, “James Marape and I had very productive talks, covering the full range of bilateral relations between India and Papua New Guinea. We discussed ways to augment cooperation in commerce, technology, healthcare, and addressing climate change.” 

Pacific Island nations and India share strong connections. In 2021, Papua New Guinea got its first significant shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations from India. The shipment occurred at a time when the country was experiencing difficulties in its immunisation plan, which depended on supplies from the global COVAX vaccine-sharing system.

The Pacific Islands Cooperation includes Fiji, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Niue, Nauru, Samoa, Palau, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.

Also Read: PM Modi to Inaugurate New Parliament Building on Savarkar Anniversary, LS Speaker Confirms


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