21 May 2007

India's post-coup Fiji stance labelled opportunistic

1:44 pm on 21 May 2007

An Indo-Fijian academic at Australia's National University says India's continuing support of Fiji may be counterproductive.

The Indian prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, is reported to have pledged his government's continuing assistance in areas such as military co-operation, the sugar industry, health, tourism, and information technology.

Professor Brij Lal says India's reaction this time has been different to previous coups.

He says India seems to have taken a sympathetic but opportunistic stand, which won't help its reputation in the region.

"The sense that India's position creates here is that the coup has happened but we're not terribly worried about that. We want to continue our relations with Fiji as per normal. Whereas Australia, New Zealand and the Commonwealth are saying, and the European Union are saying, that Fiji must return to parliamentary democracy at the soonest possible time."

Professor Brij Lal.