Harsh Vardhan Patodia is the founder and Chairman of Unimark Group and Heritage Realty Group. He is also the Honorary Consul to the Republic of Fiji. He is currently the President-Elect at CREDAI.
Cultural linkage between India and Fiji began over a century ago on 14th May 1879; ‘Leonidas’ the ship from then Calcutta (now Kolkata) with Indian indentured workers reached the shores of Fiji, then a British Colony. Beginning with early 20th century, Indian traders and others also started arriving in Fiji.
Fiji has a rich Indian Diaspora, mostly engaged in services like IT, management, finance, banking, educational, medical and hotel industry. Adding to this as, Fiji has roughly 38% of the total population of Indian Origin, shares several cultural aspects with India and Hindustani (Fiji Hindi) is regarded as one of its national Languages.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited Fiji, on 19th November2014 a first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 33 years, creating a milestone moment.
The Visit by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had a founding impact to further broaden and strengthen Fiji-India Relationship to the next level.
After the Prime Minister Modi’s visit, the Government of India has been a committed development partner to Fiji. Indian assistance extends to several sectors such as capacity building through human resource development, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance, Fijian SME Business support via grants, education and India has several Public sector Undertakings in the nation.
Deeply touched by the warmth and spontaneity of the welcome by Fiji’s community, Prime Minister Modi shared his vision in the Fiji Parliament: “India is a nation of more than a billion; Fiji a nation of a million. We are located in different oceans. But, what unites today is our democracy, the diversity of our societies, our creed that all human beings are equal, and our commitment to the liberty, dignity and rights of every individual….Fiji is a shining example of small nations that can successfully pursue great ambitions, because what makes a nation successful is not its size or its population, but its vision and its values.…As Fiji adjusts to the changing global markets, India is prepared to be your partner – In making your existing industry stronger and finding new opportunities for your youth. For countries like ours, village and small and medium scale industries are the source of enterprise and employment.”
This represents a connection and a vision shared by the present Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama; “Fiji is a nation of immense potential for investment, including in the services sector – a nation that is served by geographic advantages, a built-in luxury brand, and a skilled IT-savvy, English-speaking workforce. Let’s tap into this immense potential together.”
Fiji is a leader in the region and a strong voice in the developing world. Together, India and Fiji can also work for a future in the region, in which there is an equal place for all nations – big and small, developed and developing – and a climate of peace and tranquillity.
We share a warm relationship and are sure that India’s Pacific bonding is set to cross new frontiers in days to come under the current leadership.
The republic of Fiji sends greetings on his 70th birthday to Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, a fearless visionary statesman with a dedicated life history of selfless service, on the path to build a new India. We celebrate our united culture, heritage, vision, and an unbreakable bond and connection that exists across the Pacific, India & Fiji!