Ambassador Shri Shambhu S. Kumaran, India’s ambassador accredited to Palau, was in Palau last week, meeting with Palau’s Minister of State Gustav Aitaro, President Surangel Whipps Jr., and other officials to discuss issues of mutual interest in the first meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The discussions covered a broad range of topics, including health, digital economy, capacity building, education, IT, renewable energy, and others.
The thrust of the discussion was on how India and Palau can work together to build capacity and skills in areas of need in Palau. “India sees itself as a skills partner of choice for Palau in the future,” stated Ambassador Shri Shambhu S. Kumaran.
Touching on global and regional issues, Ambassador Shri Shambhu S. Kumaran said that he sees the two oceans, the Indian and Pacific, as intrinsically linked, and therefore, India wants to enhance its engagement with the Pacific island countries.
“Palau, because of its strong democracy and open society, is a logical partner for India,” said Ambassador Shri Shambhu S. Kumaran.
He said that Palau has been supportive of some of India’s multilateral initiatives, such as the International Solar Alliance, which Palau is a signatory to but has yet to ratify.
Palau has an ambitious goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2035. Ratification of the International Solar Alliance requires congress action.
While on the island, Ambassador Kumaran signed a visa waiver with the Minister of State Aitaro for official and diplomatic passports between the two countries.
The Government of India has funded grassroots projects in the past years, including renovations of outlying state medical dispensaries, community groups’ cultural site revival projects, and renovated venues for the 7th Our Ocean Conference. India was one of the donor countries that helped to fund the 7th Our Ocean Conference.