PM Narendra Modi to visit 5 nations in 2 months now
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka, Germany, Spain, Russia and Kazakhstan in May and early June. The hectic overseas travel itinerary comes after a six-month hiatus — since his last foreign trip to Japan for the annual summit — in the backdrop of a string of state polls and Parliament sessions.
While Modi will be in Sri Lanka in the middle of May to participate in a Buddhism conference, underscoring strong cultural bonds amid increasing Chinese footprint in the island nation that he last visited in 2015, the PM is expected to tour Germany, Spain and Russia from May-end to early June to push strategic and investment partnership.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to be the first leader from permanent members of the UN Security Council that Modi is expected to meet in 2017 as the two countries celebrate 70 years of creation of diplomatic ties.
On June 7-8, the PM is expected to be in Kazakhstan, where India is likely to be formally made a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at the Astana Summit.
The PM is scheduled to participate in the UN Vesak Day celebrations on May 12. The United Nations Day of Vesak is celebrated annually in Buddhist majority countries. This is the first time Sri Lanka will host this festival. Vesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Buddha. It is recognised as an international festival by the United Nations.
Modi is expected to inaugurate a hospital in the island nation, where India is exploring infrastructure projects including ports such as Trincomalee for commercial use. The hospital is being built with Indian assistance in Hatton, a town in Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka’s Central Province, home to Tamils of recent Indian origin who work largely on the island’s famed tea estates.
The PM is likely to visit Berlin for the fourth edition of the Inter-Governmental Commission with Germany which will focus on increasing German investments in India. Germany is key to pushing the Modi government’s Make in India programme, people aware of the matter told ET. Germany is the seventh biggest investor in India and accounts for 3 per cent of total foreign direct investment in India.
As many as 1,600 German companies are registered in India and German firms provide 400,000 jobs in India, a number that is expected to increase more than 40,000 between 2015 and 2017. Besides, Germany is considered key to bolstering Skills India programme as India hopes that Germany can bring in world-class technology. This will be Modi’s second trip to Germany since 2015, when India was the partner country at the Hannover Fair.
From Berlin the PM could travel to Spain following an invitation since last year. His Madrid trip will focus on seeking Spanish support for smart cities, defence, renewable energy and railways, said one of the persons cited earlier, who did not wish to be identified. Spain has achieved considerable success in these areas and created world-class products at competitive prices. India is keen for a partnership with Spain to improve its coastguard facilities.
The PM’s next stop will be St Petersburg (June 1-3) for St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) and 18th edition of the Indo-Russian annual summit. Modi will be the guest of honour at this edition of SPIEF, which is often described as Davos of Eurasia and is expected to be attended by 5,000 investors including Americans and Europeans this time.
Modi and Putin are expected to jointly address the SPIEF and interact with the participants. The forum will provide India with an opportunity to showcase its potential and attract investments.
In 2016 SPIEF brought together more than 12,000 participants from 133 countries. A total of 356 agreements worth $22.5 billion were signed at the last edition of SPIEF and this included top US business entities. This year marks the 20th anniversary of SPIEF, where Indian business chambers and entities have been participating actively since 2011.
This Indo-Russian annual summit in the backdrop of Russian resurgence will pick up from where it left at the last summit in Goa and the two leaders will seek common ground against international terror in West Asia and Afghanistan. Besides, they will focus on pushing the International North South Transport Corridor or INSTC, linking India with Russia and Europe via Iran, and enhancing Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, defence, traditional and nuclear energy partnership.
Modi may also travel to Ashtrakhan region of Russia from St Petersburg which is home to Indian diamond traders and is the entry point for INSTC.