Defence News: India and Fiji signed an agreement today in areas of intelligence, medical services, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Indian defence minister Arun Jaitley and Minister for Defence and National Security Ratu Inoke Kubuabola of Fiji singed the agreements. Although the island nation is far out in the Oceanic region, India’s blue water Naval abilities and Fiji’s growing needs for improving it’s own Naval capability seem to strike the perfect environment for this arrangement. Another important reason for India to reach out is because Fiji has more than 37% Indian origin population.
India and Fiji have long lasting relationship of cooperation and to cement it further is an aim of both Indian and Fiji governments. The British granted Fiji independence in 1970. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 precipitated by a growing perception that the government was dominated by the Indo-Fijian (Indian) community. Fijian society has evolved over the past century with the introduction of traditions such as Indian and Chinese as well as significant influences from Europe.
The percentage of the population of Indo-Fijian descent has declined significantly over the last two decades due to migration for various reasons. Indo-Fijians suffered reprisals for a period after the Fiji coup of 2000. India needs to ensure the Indo-Fijian community is not suppressed in the future.