Jaipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday welcomed the leaders of 14 Pacific Island countries here, saying that the second Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit sets an example of partnership of the century with their shared beliefs and aspirations.
In his inagural speech, Modi said that the closeness between the islands and India shrinks distances.
"This is the first regional summit that I am hosting in India and this one will remain very special for me; it is also special because India and the Pacific Islands are setting an example of partnerships of the century, forged by shared aspirations and challenges and shared by belief that all nations small and large have equal stakes in this world."
Modi also said the "recognition of the globalised world's interdependence has changed our perception of geography".
"In particular, the centre of gravity of global opportunities and challenges are shifting to the Pacific and Indian Ocean Region. The fortunes of nations in and around the two oceans are inter-linked.
"For this reason, the tides that bear hopes and bring challenges to the shores in India and the Pacific Islands are the same. That is why some call the region the Indo-Pacific Region," he said.
He said that the small island states may add up to small land area and even smaller populations.
"But, they are as important for us as any other nation. We have and will stand with you in international forums."
Modi said it was with this sense of solidarity that India made the strongest contribution to the Small Islands Developing States Conference in Samoa last year, which led to the evolution of the Samoa Pathway.
"India stands shoulder to shoulder with you for a dedicated seat for SIDS in an expanded and reformed United Nations Security Council in both categories.
"India will support the realisation of your vision of Pacific regionalism. It is a shining example of cooperative regionalism that should inspire others around the world,"he said.