Senior officials said that Trade, Investment, civil nuclear cooperation, and defence cooperation are among a range of issues on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda when he goes on a six-day four-nation tour next week….reports Asian Lite News
He will visit Germany for the biannual Inter-Governmental consultations, Spain in what will be an Indian Prime Minister’s first visit in nearly 30 years, Russia for the annual bilateral summit, and France where he will have his first meeting with newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.
Modi will leave for Germany on May 29 where he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will head the fourth biannual Inter-Governmental consultations the following day in Berlin.
Addressing the media here, Randhir Jaiswal, Joint Secretary (Europe West) in the External Affairs Ministry, said that India and Germany shared a strategic partnership that went back to 2000 and the two countries also enjoyed “very strong” economic relations.
“Several MoUs (memorandums of understading) are expected to be signed, which will broaden the scope and canvas of the bilateral relations that we have with Germany,” Jaiswal said.
“It (Germany) is the largest trade partner for India in the European Union. It is also one of the leading sources of foreign direct investment into India.”
There are more than 1,600 German companies doing business in India besides 600 joint ventures.
Jaiswal said that following the IGC on May 30, Modi will participate in an Indo-German business summit.
“German economic profile, support, excellence, expertise match with our development priorities, be it Make in India, Skill India, Clean India, Digital India, Smart cities and so on and so forth,” he said.
He said cooperation in the area of skill development forms an important cornerstone of India’s engagement with Germany.
“We have initiated cooperation on the skills side and we want to take it further. We look forward to deepening this particular aspect of bilateral cooperation during the bilateral visit.”
Development cooperation, science and technology partnership, and education will be other areas in the talks between the two sides.
On global cooperation, Jaiswal said India and Germany work together on a number of issues, including the fight against terrorism and expansion of the UN Security Council.
After a meeting with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Modi will leave for Spain on May 30 in what will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to that country since the visit of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988.
On May 31, the Prime Minister will hold a bilateral summit with Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy.
Modi will also call on Spanish King Felipe VI and interact with a select group of Spanish CEOs who are keen to invest and xpand their businesses in India. There are around 200 Spanish companies operating in India.
Stating that economic partnership formed an important pillar of the bilateral relationship, Jaiswal said: “You might know about Spain’s reputation in the fields of renewable energy, high speed rail, infrastructure, tunneling, technology solutions including civil aviation air space management, and waste water management.”
He said India looked forward to engaging Spain in its national priority programmes.
“We will also be discussing global issues of common concern,” he said. “Cooperation in counter-terrorism will be an element of that agenda.”
From Spain, Modi will travel to Russia on May 31 and hold the 18th annual bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 1 in St. Petersburg.
The following day, the Prime Minister will for the first time attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), a business event.
G.V. Srinivas, Joint Secretary (Eurasia) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said Modi’s participation in SPIEF signals that there will be emphasis on trade and investment during the Russian leg of the tour.
Stating that while India-Russia cooperation in the areas of defence, nuclear and space was “very, very ahead”, Srinivas said that bilateral trade has, however, come down for a variety of reasons from $10 billion to around $7 billion now.
Though the target of Russian investments in India of $30 billion by 2025 has almost been reached, he said, “In the trade area we need to do a lot. A couple of ideas are on the table that need to be pursued.”
Science and technology cooperation and people-to-people contacts are also areas that will come for discussion during Modi-Putin meeting, according to Srinivas.
From Russia, Modi will fly to Paris on June 2 evening and hold a bilateral meeting with French President Macron the next day.
Stating that France was a leading strategic partner of India, Jaiswal said that the two countries have very strong cooperation in the areas of space, civil nuclear, defence, and economy.
He also said that during the France, Germany and Spain legs of the tour, the ongoing discussions between the European Union and India on a free trade agreement would also figure prominently.