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India to continue relations with Fiji


Suva : India's policy is to engage with Fiji's interim administration rather than isolate the country, the outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Fiji, Ajay Singh has said.

"It is the policy of the Indian government to give respect to every country, whether it is big and powerful or small and venerable. Fiji happens to be in the second category," Singh said.

Fiji's military had ousted the elected government on Dec 5, 2006 after a long drawn public spat between Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and the military chief, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama. An interim government with Commodore Bainimarama as the interim prime minister was appointed by President Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

The international community including the Commonwealth Secretariat was quick to condemn the overthrow of the government.

Australia and New Zealand have since imposed diplomatic sanctions on the military led interim administration and are demanding a quick return to democracy.

"The point is to be able to engage, encourage and support a return to normalcy in Fiji rather then to try and crush a small and venerable country," Singh was quoted as saying by Fijilive.

"We believe in quiet diplomacy, rather than issuing statements through the media or by threatening or bullying or imposing sanctions that eventually hurt the common man," Singh added.