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India, China see Fiji as leader, says Bainimarama

IANS 17 Nov 2014, 12:40:32 PM IST

Suva: Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says that India and China acknowledge Fiji as a regional leader.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping are scheduled to visit Fiji this week, Fiji Live reported.

"They are coming because they recognise our achievement," Bainimarama said.

"They are coming to assist us, our newly elected government. They are coming to encourage us in our overall foreign policy objective of being friends to all and enemies to none," Bainimarama said.

"I will be telling them that there is room in the Pacific for everyone of goodwill, for everyone willing to assist our island nations to reach their full potential," the prime minister added.

He said Narendra Modi recognises the historical link between India and Fiji and wants to help develop the country.

Modi will be in Fiji Nov 19 and the Chinese President Xi Jinping Nov 21-23.

Ethnic Indians comprise 37 percent of Fiji's population of nearly 900,000.

Most of them are descendants of indentured labourers who were brought in from India by the British rulers between 1879 and 1916 to work in the country's sugarcane plantations.