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Her Excellency Ms Neeta Bhushan, High Commissioner of India to New Zealand, presented her credentials to the Independent State of Samoa’s Head of State, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II on September 21. The credentials were presented at a ceremony held at the head of State’s official residence in Vailele, Samoa. Ms Bhushan is accredited to Samoa, as well as the Pacific Island states of Niue, Cook Islands and Vanuatu.

During the credential ceremony, both the Head of State and the High Commissioner acknowledged the warm and friendly relations between Samoa and India since the establishment of diplomatic relations in June 1970. A small invited group of people of Indian origin from Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand attended the ceremony.

Samoa continues to benefit from the assistance provided by India through its grant aid programme in various areas including the education and health sector, the Indo-Samoa Medical Treatment Scheme, the establishment of the Centre for Excellence in IT at the National University of Samoa and humanitarian relief assistance during the measles and Covid-19 pandemic. India plays an active role as a Pacific Island Forum Dialogue Partner and provides support to the region through its contributions to development and technical cooperation.

The Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) provides direct engagement by India and the 14 Pacific Island countries leaders to address common issues of interest and concern on the blue economy, climate change, disaster preparedness, health, security and renewable energy. The Head of State expressed that he is confident that Ms Neeta Brushan’s appointment as High Commissioner of India to Samoa will no doubt provide more opportunities for collaboration on matters of mutual interest to further strengthen Samoa and India’s bilateral ties.

Ms Bhushan holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Economics. She joined the Ministry of External Affairs of India in 1994 and has held diplomatic postings as Third Secretary and later Second Secretary at the Embassy of India in Tokyo, she was a First Secretary/Counsellor at the Embassy of India in Berlin and then later as Consul General/Officer on Special Duty at the Consulate General of India in Chicago. This is her first Head of Mission appointment as High Commissioner of India to New Zealand with accreditation to Samoa.

First appeared in the 22 September 2023 issue of the Indian Weekender: