PM Narendra Modi Visits Papua New Guinea, Receives Remarkable Gesture from Prime Minister James Marape

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Papua New Guinea on Sunday, marking the first visit by an Indian premier to the island nation. The visit is part of New Delhi’s efforts to counter China’s expanding influence in the Pacific region. PM Modi’s arrival at the airport was met with a surprising and significant gesture from his counterpart, Prime Minister James Marape, who touched his feet, signifying deep respect.

PM Modi’s visit to Papua New Guinea follows his participation in the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Tokyo, Japan. The Indian Prime Minister is in the country to attend the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FPIC), a summit aimed at strengthening ties between India and Pacific island nations.

The touching of feet by Prime Minister Marape drew attention and admiration from BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra, who described it as a “remarkable gesture.” Patra took to Twitter, stating, “The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea pays respects to the Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi Ji by touching his feet. This profound visual exemplifies India’s growth and influence under the leadership of PM Modi.”

Here are some key points about Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea:

  • James Marape has been serving as Prime Minister since 2019 and is a member of the PANGU Pati political party.
  • The 52-year-old leader made a unique exception by touching PM Modi’s feet, a gesture not extended to any other world leader.
  • Marape holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Papua New Guinea, which he obtained in 1993.
  • He also possesses a Postgraduate Honours degree in Environmental Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.
  • Marape is the 8th Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and has held significant cabinet positions in previous governments.
  • He has previously served as parliamentary secretary for works and transport and has been involved in the parliamentary referral committee on inter-government relations.
  • In 2019, Marape resigned from the People’s National Congress Party and joined the Pangu PATI.
  • A failed attempt to oust his government through a no-confidence motion was made in 2020, as reported by The Guardian.

After their talks, PM Modi took to Twitter and said, “James Marape and I had very productive discussions, covering the entire spectrum of bilateral relations between India and Papua New Guinea. We explored ways to enhance cooperation in commerce, technology, healthcare, and addressing climate change.”

The Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation, co-hosted by PM Modi and Prime Minister James Marape, is set to take place on Monday. The discussions during the summit will primarily focus on climate change and development. It is noteworthy that the previous summit of this nature took place eight years ago and was hosted by India.