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Cooks and India deepen cooperation on technology, renewable energy, and cultural exchange

Friday 1 March 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National


Cooks and India deepen cooperation on technology, renewable energy, and cultural exchange
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Tepaeru Herrmann, left, greets Neeta Bhushan, High Commissioner of the Republic of India to the Cook Islands. MFAI/24022916

The governments of Cook Islands and India 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 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Maritime Organisation.

This was agreed following a series of engagements last week by India High Commissioner to the Cook Islands Neeta Bhushan.

The visit hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) included engagements with senior government officials from MFAI, Ministry of Finance and 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.

Secretary for MFAI Tepaeru Herrmann said: “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.”

Since CEIT was launched in September 2019 it has enrolled and certified over 150 Cook Islands residents, MFAI said in a statement, adding CEIT has also established afterschool and school holiday coding and robotics programmes for children and youths.

The statement said in recent years, India has established itself as the world’s “pharmacy hub” with New Zealand importing US$78 million (NZ$128m), more than 60 per cent of its pharmaceutical products from India.

At the third Forum for India and Pacific Islands Countries (FIPIC) meeting co-chaired by Prime Minister Mark Brown and India’s PM 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.

Herrmann said: “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 yoga 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,” the statement said.