About Us India-Samoa bilateral brief

High Commission of India

Wellington, New Zealand

INDIA - SAMOA BILATERAL RELATIONS

India and Samoa enjoy friendly and cordial relations. India established diplomatic relations with Samoa in June 1970 and was the second country to do so after New Zealand. The two countries are bound together by membership of the Commonwealth as well as cooperation in different international fora. Some Indian professionals working with multilateral agencies and a few teachers on bilateral contract are working in Samoa. Government of India is also providing regular economic and technical assistance to Samoa.

2. High Commission of India, Wellington is concurrently accredited to Samoa. In case of Samoa, its Ambassador in Tokyo is concurrently accredited to India. Mr. Leonidas Apete Meredith has recently (July 2021) been appointed as India’s Honorary Consul General in Samoa, which is expected to provide a further boost to the bilateral relationship.

Recent visits / developments:

PM Shri Modi hosted the India-Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) Meeting on 24 September, 2019 in New York on the side lines of UNGA. Prime Minister of Samoa Hon’ble Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, represented Samoa at the meeting. The leaders deliberated on a wide range of issues including sharing developmental experiences for attainment of SDGs, enhancing cooperation in renewable energy, joining the newly launched Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, capacity building, implementation of projects under the India-UN Development Partnership Fund and roadmap for future India-PSIDS cooperation. PM Shri Modi reiterated India’s commitment to tackling climate change and for increasing the share of renewable energy for which he announced a concessional Line of Credit of US $ 150 million for undertaking solar, renewable energy and climate related projects. He also announced allocation of US $ 1 million to each PSIDS towards implementation of a high impact development project in the area of their choice. He also announced a ‘Distinguished Visitors Programme’ under which eminent persons from these countries can visit India. PM also reaffirmed his commitment for providing developmental assistance for capacity building by deputing technical experts to provide training and through special courses under the ITEC programme. Leaders of PSIDS, including Samoa, welcomed these initiatives.

4. Visit of MOS for Tribal Affairs: From 20-23 May 2018, Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, Hon. Jaswantsinh Bhabhor visited Samoa. The Minister held discussions of bilateral importance with Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II. He also met the then Acting PM and Minister of Communications & Information Technology Hon. Afamasaga Rico Tupa’I and Health Minister Afioga Tuitama Dr. Leao Talalelei Tuitama and toured Samoan health facilities.

5. Sustainable Development Summit: A Samoan delegation led by Deputy PM of Samoa Ms Fiame Naomi Mataafa attended the India-Pacific Islands Sustainable Development Conference held in Suva, Fiji, from 25-26 May 2017. The inaugural session of the conference was addressed by Gen. Dr V.K. Singh (Retd), Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India. India and Samoa signed an MOU for establishing a Centre of Excellence in IT in the Samoan capital Apia, which became operational in March, 2020.

6. 2nd FIPIC Summit: The Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi led a 5-member delegation to the 2nd Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC), held at Jaipur on August 21, 2015. One journalist from Samoa visited India from August 17-24, 2015, as part of the familiarization trip organized by XP Division, MEA, during the 2nd FIPIC Summit.

7. 1st FIPIC Summit: A four-member delegation led by the Prime Minister of Samoa Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi attended the Pacific Leaders’ Summit on 19 November 2014 held at Suva, Fiji along with thirteen other Head of Governments, or designated political representatives of the Pacific island countries.

8. Asia Leadership Programme on Sustainable Development and Climate Change: Samoan Prime Minister Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, accompanied by Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Mr. Aiono Mose P. Sua and, Chief Executive officer for Finance, Central Bank, Mr. Iulai Lavea, visited India for the Asia Leadership Programme on Sustainable Development and Climate Change. The event, coordinated by the Asian Development Bank, was held in New Delhi from 2-5 February 2013.

9. SIDS Conference 2014: Samoa hosted the third SIDS (Small Islands Developing States) conference in Apia from 1-4 September 2014. India contributed US$250000/- to the UN Trust Fund to support the Conference. Most of the SIDS (39) were represented at the level of Head of State/Government. The 3rd SIDS Conference was an effort to assess the progress of the SIDS countries and Millennium Development programme. A high-level Indian delegation also participated in the SIDS Conference and reiterated India’s commitment towards development of Pacific countries.

10. Samoan Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Agriculture Store Cooperation visited India in July 2012 for the 45th COCOTECH APCC meeting held at Cochin. Appreciating the developments in our coconut sector, especially advancements in processing technology by Coconut Development Board, the Minister expressed a keen desire to forge a close relationship between the two countries in this area and to avail of the technologies in plant protection and processing from India. The Samoan Agriculture Minister again visited Kochi from 2-5 February 2015 to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the 51st Asian & Pacific Coconut Community.

11. The 5th Commonwealth Youth Games were held in Apia, Samoa from   5th to 11th September 2015. A 33-member contingent from India in the age group of 14-18 years participated in eight sports disciplines.  

12. Hon’ble Faumuina Tiatia Faaolatane Liuga, Minister of Finance, led the Samoan delegation to the 46th Annual meeting of the Board of Governors of ADB, at New Delhi from 2-5 May 2013.

13. At the invitation of Ms. Krishna Tirath, the then Minister of State (IC), MOW&CD, Hon’ble Gatoloaifaana Amataga Gidlow, Associate Minister for Women, Community and Social Development represented Samoa at the Second High-Level Meeting on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights in Asia and the Pacific held in New Delhi in October 2013.

14. Indian State Assembly delegations visited Samoa for participation in the 23rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Seminar in Apia from 24 to 30 May 2012. 

15. The Indian Naval training ship, INS Tarangini, visited Samoa in January 2004.

16. High Commissioner visited Samoa from 11-14 March, 2020 and presented his credentials to the Head of State on 12 March 2020. He also held meetings with PM Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Minister of Communication and Information Technology Hon. Afioga Afamasaga Lepuiai Rico Tupai, Minister of Health Hon. Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, Minister of Education, Sports & Culture Hon. Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio and MFAT CEO Mrs. Peseta Noumea Simi during which all the facets of India-Samoa bilateral relations were reviewed. PM of Samoa Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi and High Commissioner signed the Tax Information Exchange Agreement on 12 March 2020. On 13 March 2020, the Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) set up with GOI assistance was formally launched jointly by High Commissioner and the PM of Samoa. High Commissioner hosted ITEC Day Reception in the evening of 13 March, which was attended by ITEC alumni from Samoa along with members of diplomatic corps, senior officials from MFAT and UN agencies as well as prominent members of the Indian community. High Commissioner also visited the UN headquarters in Samoa and was briefed by UN officials about Samoa Knowledge Society Initiative. He also visited the Pacific Climate Change Centre set up with the assistance of New Zealand and Japan and discussed ways in which India can collaborate in various projects being undertaken to mitigate and adapt to challenges of climate change in the pacific.

Technical and Economic Assistance:

17. Samoa depends substantially on overseas assistance/aid. At the Pacific Leaders’ Summit held in Fiji in November 2014, PM Shri Modi announced increase in the annual Grant-in-Aid for Samoa from US $ 125,000 to US$ 200,000.

18. Three Dialysis Machines were supplied to Samoa at a cost of NZ$ 122669.71 in September 2006 under bilateral assistance. The Samoan government had requested for donation of three more machines in 2007 which were delivered in March 2008 (at a cost of NZ$ 66316.74 (US$ 50785.90) out of the grant-in-aid of 2006). Samoa has also requested for replacement of 3 dialysis machines every two years. An amount of NZ$ 65029.60 was provided to Samoa as grant-in-aid in 2009 for funding the purchase of six portable reverse Osmosis systems for the National Kidney Foundation. Three dialysis machines, one blood volume monitor and one temperature monitor were supplied to Samoa in May 2011 at a cost of NZ$ 80,120.

19. The Centre for Excellence in Information Technology funded by MEA and set up by C-DAC at School of Maritime, National University of Samoa in Apia has become functional in November, 2019 with the deployment of two personnel from C-DAC. Four master trainers from Samoa have also undergone Advanced IT training at CDAC and obtained Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Computing (PG-DAC) & Post Graduate Diploma in IT Infrastructure, Systems and Security.

20. Samoa Knowledge Society Initiative Project, supported with a grant of US $ 1 million by India under the aegis of India-UN Development Partnership Fund has been launched on 20 December, 2019. The multi-pronged Knowledge Initiative will promote knowledge based sustainable development in Samoa by ensuring ease of access to information for all Samoans.

21. India gave a cash grant of US $ 2,50,000 to Samoa in January 2020 for relief and rehabilitation of victims of the measles epidemic that took of toll of 81 lives and affected 5600 others. Samoan PM has written a letter to PM Shri Modi, thanking for the cash grant and requesting for further assistance of US $ 1 mn for its Measles Recovery Programme, which is under active consideration of the Ministry.

22. ITEC: Twenty ITEC Slots are being offered to Samoa and it is keenly availing of the offer in recent years, particularly in the field of Information Technology, small scale enterprises, financial management, and other areas of mutual interest. Fifteen slots were availed by Samoa in 2018-19. However, the utilisation in 2019-20 was only 8 slots because of Samoa’s measles epidemic and nil in 2020-21 because of Covid-19 pandemic.

23. Other Training Programmes: One Samoan official has been trained at the National Institute of Small Industry Extension Training (NISIET), Hyderabad in 2007. Two Samoan officials attended the TERI workshop on sustainable development conducted for the Pacific Island Countries (PIC) in Fiji in 2007. Five Samoan diplomats have so far been trained at Professional Courses for Foreign Diplomats at FSI, in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2013 and 2018 respectively. Two officers from the Samoan Foreign Office attended a short-term Course for Diplomats of PICs organized by FSI at Nadi in January 2011. A Samoan diplomat attended the FSI’s special training programme for Commonwealth diplomats in New Delhi in March 2011. Two officers from the Samoan Foreign Office attended a short-term Course for Diplomats of PICs organized by FSI at Nadi from 4 to 8 May 2015 and one Samoan Diplomat visited NewDelhi for the FSI Diplomatic Course 2017. Three nominations received from the Samoan side have been forwarded to FSI for the 3rd FSI Special Training Programme.

24. Mr Jovesa Leone Ah Kuoi from Samoa participated in the Advance Orientation Programme for International Solar Alliance (ISA) from 17 to 25 January 2017 in India. Mr Poumulinuku Onosemo, CEO for the Samoan Ministry of Works, Transport & Infrastructure attended the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMUCHUD) in Delhi from 14-16 December 2016.

Economic and Commercial Relations:

25. Bilateral trade: Trade is currently not significant. India exported nearly US$0.65m (Samoan Tala 1649’000) worth of goods to Samoa in 2020.

26. Hon’ble PM announced the opening of the FIPIC Trade Office in FICCI premises at New Delhi in his speech during the 2nd FIPIC Summit. The Trade Office, named ‘FIPIC Business Accelerator’ was formally launched on September 7, 2015. The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has also set up an exclusive department for promoting trade with Pacific Island Countries, at its headquarters in New Delhi.

27. Consequent to the decisions taken at the two FIPIC Summits, Government of India has approved grant of gratis e-Tourist Visas to nationals of 14 Pacific Islands Countries including Samoa. Other proposals which are currently being pursued for implementation are deputation of ITEC experts, setting up of Tele-medicine centre, and supply of medicines by Indian Pharma PSUs directly to PICs subject to relaxed regulatory approvals.

28. India’s Apollo Hospitals Group and Fortis Hospitals has signed an MoUs with the Samoan Ministry of Health.

Indian Community / Culture:

30. As per available information, about 45 PIOs are settled in Samoa who are mostly engaged in restaurant and card dealership businesses. Two personnel from C-DAC, Pune are deployed at the Centre for Excellence in Information Technology for a 2-year term. International Day of Yoga is observed in Samoa every year and this year the celebrations were led by Mr. Apete Meredith, the recently appointed Honorary Consul General of India to Samoa.

***

(July 2021)