Visits by Head of States to Fiji

FJ
Indias Prime Minister arriving at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva where he rested during his one day honerable visit to Fiji

Fiji has become the most influential voice in the Pacific Region after a half-century of social and political turmoil, from gaining independence from England in 1970 through a quadrilogy of political coups and a new constitution introduced in 2013, to the present multi-cultural nation living in harmony together, with the nation leading on environmental policies and humanitarian work across the world.  The soul of the nation has been put on center stage, displaying to the rest of the world the importance of friendships and mutual partnerships. With the unified voice of the Fijian people becoming the representative and voice for…

Ms Indira Gandhi | Sep 1981


Top Left - Indira Gandhi meeting the surviving girmityas we’d gathered from parts of Viti Levu Bottom Left - Mrs Indira Gandhi pictured on a motorcade with then Prime Minister of Fiji, Rt Hon. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara passed through Drasa Avenue, Lautoka for the formal ceremony at Churchill Park Right - Mrs. Indira Gandhi being welcomed by Prime Minister of Fiji, Rt Hon. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara at Nausori AIrport.
Top Left – Indira Gandhi meeting the surviving girmityas we’d gathered from parts of Viti Levu Bottom Left – Mrs Indira Gandhi pictured on a motorcade with then Prime Minister of Fiji, Rt Hon. Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara passed through Drasa Avenue, Lautoka for the formal ceremony at Churchill Park Right – Mrs Indira Gandhi being welcomed by the Prime Minister of Fiji, at Nausori Airport. | Image: Supplied

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, was the first Prime Minister of India to visit Fiji, she arrived on official duties in September 1981 for two and a half weeks.

Part of her itinerary included

  • Awarding Indian Independence Medals to several Fijians who returned to India to fight alongside Mahatma Gandhi to achieve independence.  ‘Instead of a traditional gesture of ‘Namaste’ to them with her folded palms and moving on to the sumptuous tea laid out for the chief guest and her invited coterie, Indira Gandhi went and hugged each of these old men’
  • She was guest of honour at the 1981 Sugar Festival held in Lautoka.
  • The Girmit Centre for Multi-Cultural Studies was opened on the 21st of 1981, with several speeches given, ‘The most memorable moment was when, after the speeches and reading, she walked off the heavily decorated dias to meet the surviving girmityas we’d gathered from parts of Viti Levu,’ Professor Nandan recalled.
  • 14 acres of prime crown land to commemorate the centenary of the arrival of the first indentured Indians to the islands was provided by the Fijian Government

US Secretary of State George Shultz | Sep 1985


Portrait of George P. Shultz ’49 Secretary of State in the Nixon administration
Portrait of George P. Shultz ’49 Secretary of State in the Nixon administration | Image: Supplied

On July 16th, 1985, George P. Shultz met up with The Right Honourable Prime Minister Mara, (Kamisese Mara was appointed Fiji’s first prime minister on 10 October 1970, when Fiji attained its independence from Britain, serving two terms) this was part of his 12-day visit to Asia, which included Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, and Hong Kong listed on the itinerary.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi | 2014


Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi receiving a ceremony Kava drink in Fiji | Image: Supplied
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi receiving a ceremony Kava drink in Fiji | Image: Supplied

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Fiji, Tuesday 19 November 2014, for a day-long visit on the last leg of his three-nation ten-day tour, his busy schedule consisted of a Traditional welcome at Albert Park followed by bilateral talks with his counterpart Frank Bainimarama, addressing parliament, and also meet leaders and representatives of 12 pacific islands nations.  he and his entourage touched down at around six o’clock in the morning at the Nausori International Airport, just outside Suva, the same airport Ms. Indira Gandhi had landed 33 years prior. (Full Itinerary) PDFPM Bainimarama – Welcome remarks PDF

The Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama and other Government Ministers followed by the tradition of inspecting the guard of honour by the Fiji Military forces. with continued with hundreds of Fijians lining the King’s road as his motorcade made its way to the Grand Pacific Hotel (Main Image)

Prime Minister Modi was then whisked away and hosted by the Grand Pacific Hotel where he rested in the Royal Suite and where he also later attended two (2) GPH ballroom events, the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation with respective Pacific Island nation leaders, and later a dinner gala with these same leaders and other regional dignitaries and stakeholders. (Grand Pacific Hotel, 2014)

On the eve of Prime Minister Modi arrival, his Fijian counterpart Bainimarama said

‘the visit is an opportunity for his country to further strengthen its position as a regional leader. ‘Prime Minister Modi recognises the great historical link and wants to help us develop our nation in a range of ways which we will discuss’

Fiji and India have 135 years of historical and friendly relations and a formal diplomatic relationship was established in 1970

“I regard Fiji as an important partner for India. We have deep and enduring ties of history and culture. Fiji is an influential voice in the Pacific Region and the developing world, and our partner in multilateral institutions,” PM Modi said after his meeting with Frank Bainimarama.

Video: His Excellency Narendra Modi PM of India arrives in Fiji – H.E. Narendra Modi Prime Minister of Republic of India arrives at Nausori Airport, Fiji and is welcomed by Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama and his Cabinet Ministers. Wednesday 19th November 2014.

Chinese President Xi Jinping | 2014


Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama in 2014
Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama in 2014 on the islands of Fiji | Image: Supplied

The historic first state visit to Fiji by a Chinese leader, President Xi Jinping with his large delegation arrived on a two-day visit to Fiji on Friday, November 21st, 2014, the same week as the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi from India (above) On arrival at the Nadi International Airport, the Chinese President was accorded a Guard of Honour mounted by members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. He was also received by senior Fijian government officials including the Hon. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

The Chinese President’s two-day visit to Fiji – was centered around Denarau Island – his itinerary included full ceremonial and traditional welcomes, State Banquets hosted by both the Fijian President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, and Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, with bilateral talks with leaders of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Cook Islands, and Niue, throughout the day. Fijian Prime Minister Holds Bilateral Talks With Chinese President

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Fiji was greatly honoured by President Xi’s visit.

“China is a great friend of Fiji’s and while our formal relationship stretches back to 1975, it’s the first time we have been able to host a Chinese leader here. It’s a clear sign both of the deep ties we have developed and the importance that China places on Fiji’s leadership in the Pacific”, the PM said, ‘he was also looking forward to hosting other Pacific leaders in Fiji and giving them the opportunity to meet the President. “ As the second biggest economy in the world, China is increasingly important for the entire region and especially our own economies. We very much welcome its desire to engage more fully with us and these meetings will take our ties to a new level”, he said.

Video: Fijian Prime Minister Welcomes Chinese President – Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Nadi International Airport. President Xi is on a two day state visit to Fiji from November 21st-23rd.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern | 2020 & 2022


Fijian PM Thanks NZ For Helping to Fijian Community
Fijian PM Thanks NZ For Helping to Fijian Community | Image: Supplied

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has visited Fiji twice during her tenureship, to build upon the historic relationship between the two nations, key topics of discussion between Fiji and New Zealand’s bilateral meeting are climate change in the Pacific, improving the balance of trade and development co-operation. Ceremony duties included tree planting, wreath laying at the National War Memorial to state dinner engagements to build a cross-party relationship with the present and opposition members of parliament.

Video: Fijian Prime Minister farewells New Zealand Prime Minister – Fijian Prime Minister, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, farewelled the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern at the Nausori International Airport.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken | 2020 & 2022


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking to Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Podium in Fiji
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking to Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the Podium in Fiji | Image: Supplied

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken the most senior-ranking United States government official to visit Fiji since 1985.  He was greeted at Nadi Airport by Acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, members of the cabinet, and other senior government officials.  This visit was very brief, totaling only 6 hours. Denarau Island, the location of Sofitel Resort and Spa, is where Secretary Blinken conducted meeting with Pacific Leaders.

‘His remarks alluded to a growing unease among the U.S. leaders eying the Pacific’s island nations — that China is expanding its political and economic influence in the region.’

Video: Welcome to Fiji! Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum officially welcomed the United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken at the Nadi International Airport

References

  • Archive (2001, January 20). US Department of State Archive. State.gov. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • ATF (2014, November 19). India’s Mobi in Fiji to meet Pacific Leaders. Bangkok Post. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • Braddock, J. (2022). US secretary of state visits Fiji, escalating confrontation with China [Photograph]. World Socialist. Link
  • Facebook (2022, December 6). Fiji History. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • GPH (2014, November 20). India’s Prime Minister Visits the GPH. The Grand Pacific Hotel. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • FP Staff (2014). Photos: With Fiji as his last stop, PM Modi ends his latest trip [Photograph]. First Post. Link
  • Lice Movono (2022, February 12). US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken arrives in Fiji. RNZ. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • Neimila, N. (2020). Fijian PM Thanks NZ For Help to Fijian Community [Photograph]. The Fijian Government. Link
  • Nand, E. (2022, February 12). US Secretary of State welcomed to Fiji. FBC NEWS. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • Nasokia, W. (2022, February 14). Blinken Visit Marks Start Of More Direct Partnership Between Fiji, U.S. Fiji Sun. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • Sardone, D. (2021). Former Us Secretary Of State, George P. Shultz, Holds The First Annual “voices Youth Award” Named In His Honor [Photograph]. The Ritz Herald.  Link
  • Sivan, S. (2014, November 18). Modi in Fiji. FBC News. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • TI (2014, November 19). Narendra Modi reaches Fiji, first visit by an Indian PM in 33 years. The Times of India. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • Turaga, S. (2020, February 25). NZ PM Jacinda Ardern official visit to Fiji. Fiji Village. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • L.A. Times Archives (1985, June 11). Shultz Plans 12-Day Asian Trip. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • List of international prime ministerial trips made by Indira Gandhi. (2022, December 6). In Wikipedia. Link
  • Press Trust of India (2014, November 18). Narendra Modi arrives in Fiji, first visit by a PM in 33 years. The Indian Express. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • Tomar, R. (2014, November 21). Prime Minister Modi visits Fiji. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
  • United Press International (1985, July 6). SHULTZ BEGINS 13-DAY TRIP TO SOUTHEAST ASIA. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 29, 2022, from Link
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