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India to play role of ‘Vishvaguru’: Modi

Suva : Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said India will once again play the role of “Vishvaguru” or teacher to the world.

In an interaction with representatives of civil society at the Fiji Technical University here, Modi said India would use the strengths of its democracy and young population for the benefit of mankind.

Stating that the coming age would be the age of knowledge and technology, Modi said it was essential to keep adding to the knowledge base, and to keep up the pace of new discoveries and inventions.

Remarking that India’s ancient sages had spoken about India’s global responsibility, he said India would play a pivotal role in the coming “Gyan Yug” playing the role of a “Vishvaguru”.

The prime minister said the Indian government was giving priority to skill development so that these strengths could be leveraged for the benefit of the whole world. He also talked about ending the digital divide, saying “we have to prepare for the future to help the world”.

The prime minister, who is in Fiji on the last leg of his 10-day three-nation tour, said India and the Pacific island nation had many shared values, and it was the responsibility of both sides to strengthen these values.

Ethnic Indians comprise 37 percent of Fiji’s population of nearly 900,000.

Most of them are descendants of indentured labourers who were brought in by British rulers from India between 1879 and 1916 to work in the country’s sugarcane plantations.

Observing that Fiji had chosen the path of democracy to move forward, the prime minister said this had set an example that would exert a positive influence in the wider Pacific region as well.

The prime minister also spoke of the initiatives that he had announced earlier in the day after landing in Fiji. These include visa on arrival for Fiji and other Pacific island nations, a line of credit of $70 million for a co-generation power plant, doubling the number of scholarships and training slots in India for Fiji and setting up of a special adaptation fund of $1 million to provide technical assistance and training for capacity building to Pacific island nations on the issue of global warming.