Papua New Guinea PM Touches PM Modi’s Feet

Papua New Guinea

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Papua New Guinea to host the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation. Welcoming PM Modi, the Pacific Island nation’s first Indian Prime Minister, his colleague James Marape touched his feet before giving him a traditional welcome.

While Papua New Guinea generally does not extend a ceremonial greeting to any leader who arrives after sunset, an exception was made for Prime Minister Modi, who arrived after 10 p.m. local time.

“I am thankful to PM James Marape for coming to the airport and welcoming me. This is a very special gesture which I will always remember. I look forward to boosting India’s ties with this great nation during my visit,” PM Modi tweeted.

PM Marape sought for PM Modi’s feet after the two had embraced. Before proceeding towards the other dignitaries who had come to see Prime Minister Modi, the two had another hug.

Apart from PM James Marape’s particular gesture of greeting him at the airport, PM Modi was granted a 19-gun salute, guard of respect, and ceremonial welcome, according to Ministry of External Affairs spokeswoman Arindam Bagchi.

Papua New Guinea will receive its first big shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations from India in 2021. The shipment arrived at a time when the country was experiencing a health crisis due to delays in its immunisation plan, which was reliant on supplies from the global COVAX vaccine-sharing arrangement.

PM Modi arrived in Japan after attending the G7 advanced economies summit and holding bilateral discussions with many world leaders.

On Monday, Narendra Modi and James Marape will hold the third Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation  conference. He will also meet with Papua New Guinea’s Governor General, Bob Dadae, and hold bilateral talks with James Marape.

The talks on Monday will mostly address climate change and development. India held the previous meeting eight years ago.

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