A week after the deadly terror bombings in Brussels, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the Belgian capital on Wednesday morning as part of a three- nation tour. After Brussels, Modi will be in the US to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and also visit Saudi Arabia.
“India-EU Summit and strong economic & investment ties with Belgium will be on the agenda during my Brussels visit,” tweeted the PM before leaving for the summit.
In Brussels, Modi will attend the long-pending India-EU summit. He will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel. Talks on tackling terrorism will form “very important part” of discussions between the two leaders.
The India-EU Summit is aimed at deepening the strategic partnership between the two sides which are likely to deliberate on ways to finalise the free trade agreement.
India-EU ties witnessed some strain after the 28-member bloc had not responded to New Delhi’s proposal for a brief visit by Modi to Brussels, the EU headquarters, during his trip to France, Germany and Canada in April last year.
“The attacks in Brusels, of course, will be a very important part of the discussions. In fact, it will be the starting point of the talks,” Joint Secretary (Europe) Nandini Singla, told reporters.
The two countries are likely to sign a number of agreements as they are looking at enhancing cooperation in areas of shipping, counter-terrorism, renewable energy and taxatation.
In Brussels, Modi will meet top businessmen, including a delegation of diamond traders who are mostly Indian, and will also address the Indian diaspora. A meeting with Parliamentarians and a delegation of indologists in also on the cards.
Modi and Charles will be “technically activating” the largest optical telescope of its kind in Asia located at Devasthal near Nainital. The telescope is a product of Indo-Belgian collaboration.
From Brussels, Modi will head to Washington to attend the 4th Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) on March 31 and April 1.
India will submit a national progress report on nuclear security at the summit, which is also expected to deliberate on ways to tackle nuclear terrorism.
From Washington, Modi will travel to Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on April 2 for a two-day visit.
The two sides are likely to discuss business and trade as Saudi Arabia is India’s 4th largest trading partner.
Saudi Arabia plans to invest USD one trillion in infrastructure development over the next five years and Modi is likely to pitch for participation of Indian companies in the projects.
The ‘Strategic Partnership’ established through Riyadh declaration in 2010 envisions a deeper engagement in political, economic, security and defence areas.
In Riyadh, Modi will meet top CEOs of Saudi companies, interact with the Indian community there and visit Tata Consultancy centre which has trained over 1,000 Saudi women. Modi will also meet Indian workers of a project being implemented by L&T.
(With inputs from PTI)