Cook Islands/ India forward co-operation focus on technology and community resilience

Cook Islands/ India forward co-operation focus on technology and community resilience
Left: Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration - Ms Tepaeru Herrmann and Her Excellency Mrs Neeta Bhushan, High Commissioner of the Republic of India to the Cook Islands

“Following a series of engagements last week by India High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Neeta Bhushan, the two governments will continue to focus forward co-operation on technology, community resilience including renewable energy, strengthening people to people links and collaboration in the multilateral fora including UNESCO and the IMO.

The visit by HC Bhusan hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Immigration (MFAI) included engagements with senior government officials from MFAI, Ministry of Finance & Economic Management, Culture, Seabed Minerals Authority as well as with the Centre for Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) with the University of the South Pacific.

“During her visit, HC Bhusan also explored the CEIT and met with Director Mii Nimerota where she was briefed on the work of the Centre, students who’ve completed studies and CEIT’s plans to expand course and service offering. HC Bhusan was impressed with the work and offering of CEIT and we look forward to continued partnership with India towards the Centre given India is the technology and innovation global hub and investments in technology upskilling are necessary for our economic growth,” said Secretary Herrmann. Since CEIT was launched in September 2019 it has enrolled and certified over 150 Cook Islands residents. In addition, CEIT has established afterschool and school holiday coding and robotics programmes for children and youths.

In recent years, India has established itself as the world’s ‘pharmacy hub’ with New Zealand importing US$78 million, more than 60% of its pharmaceutical products from India. At the third Forum for India and Pacific Islands Countries (FIPIC) meeting co-chaired by Prime Ministers Mark Brown and Narendra Modi in Papua New Guinea (PNG) in May last year, Modi announced several initiatives India would make available to the Pacific which included a number of health-related initiatives such as sea ambulances, dialysis units and a 100-bed regional super specialty hospital to be established in Fiji. “Health co-operation is another area of possible future co-operation discussed with HC Bhusan and MFAI will continue to be guided by Te Marae Ora-Ministry of Health on specific health initiatives we might be able to partner with India on in the coming months.”

Next week three Cook Islanders will travel to India to undertake month long yogi training with the support of the Government of India. Further training and scholarship opportunities are currently being discussed by the two governments and MFAI will continue to make those available for application as they become available.

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Additional details can also be found at: India Grant Fund

Centre of Excellence in Information Technology