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India monitoring Fiji developments: Antony

Antony says India is "closely monitoring" the developments in Fiji in the wake of last month's military coup.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2007 20:51 IST

India is "closely monitoring" the developments in Fiji in the wake of last month's military coup, the fourth in 20 years, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Sunday.

"We are closely monitoring the developments. The crisis will be handled properly," he said in New Delhi at an interactive session on the opening day of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, India's annual global connect with its 25 million diaspora.

"Your interests will be protected," he said in response to a question from a Fijian delegate during the session on India's relations with its diaspora in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and the Caribbean.

The Fijian military chief, Commander Vorege "Frank" Bainimarama, was sworn in as interim prime minister on Saturday, replacing Laisenia Qarase, the man he overthrew on December 5. He also announced he would continue to head the armed forces.

"In all things, I will be a true and faithful prime minister. Let us put the interest of the nation at heart," Bainimarama declared after assuming office, even as he ordered Qarase to remain at his home in the country's remote east.

People of Indian Origin (PIOs) make up 40 per cent of Fiji's population. According to Brij Lal, an eminent historian who teaches at the Australian National University at Canberra, most of them have been reduced to the status of aliens.

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