NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed optimism about the upcoming Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) and hoped it will strengthen India's bonds with the 14 resource-rich nations.
"I welcome all the leaders and delegates who are coming to India for the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation," he tweeted ahead of the August 21 Summit in Jaipur.
"I am very optimistic about FIPIC Summit. Am sure it will strengthen India's bond with the Pacific island nations," he added.
At the Summit, India will seek to expand its footprint in the strategically-important South Pacific region by pushing for deeper engagement with these nations in a range of key areas including trade and investment.
The aim is to chart a new course in relationship with the countries of Pacific region, where China has been trying to step up its influence.
The sectors that India will look for deeper cooperation with the island nations include oil and natural gas, mining, IT, health care, fishing and marine research.
The island nations which will take part in the FIPIC Summit include Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Niue, Palau, Micronesia and Marshall Islands. Some of the island nations have oil and gas reserves.