Advancing South-South Cooperation: India’s Development Partnerships with Pacific Island Countries

December 14, 2021

Given India’s increasing and active engagement in the Pacific Islands region, the Asia Foundation collaborated with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) to undertake exploratory research to improve understanding of the various ways in which India is extending assistance in the forms of technical assistance, capacity building programs, knowledge sharing, etc.

Amidst shifting geopolitical dynamics in the Indo-Pacific region, India and Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have widened their political interactions, economic engagement, and development partnerships in multiple areas. This paper explores the history and current dimensions of this engagement. The first part provides a geographical, societal, and economic introduction to the PICs, explaining how the region is split into three sub-regions: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. The second section details India’s approach to development cooperation with partner countries and addresses barriers within India’s development partnerships. The third section outlines the history of India’s development cooperation in the PICs, categorized according to India’s interactions with each sub-region.

The fourth section elaborates on India’s development partnerships in the PICs, divided first into the sub-regions of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, and second into sectors, including financial assistance, digital cooperation, people-to-people contacts, disaster relief, health services, and capacity building.

The fifth section lists trade and investment linkages, such as bilateral imports and exports, and how the private sector can invest in future enterprises. The sixth section dives into India’s current and potential trilateral development partnerships with the US, Australia, European and Asian countries, and multilateral organizations. In its conclusion, the paper offers policy recommendations for bilateral and multilateral areas of political, economic, cultural, and technical cooperation. It also includes prospects for triangular cooperation and provides scope for future research on building sustainable development partnerships with PICs.

To access the publication on the Asia Foundation website, please click here.