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PM Modi in Vienna: How have India-Austria ties developed over the years? EXPLAINED

PM Modi's historic visit to Austria in the first by any Indian leader in 41 years after Indira Gandhi, as New Delhi and Vienna are celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations. PM Modi said the shared values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law form the basis of India-Austria relations.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Vienna Updated on: July 13, 2024 9:35 IST
PM Modi in Austria
Image Source : MEA Prime Minister Narendra Modi being given a ceremonial welcome in Vienna in the presence of Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

PM Modi in Austria: Prime Minister Narendra Modi kick-started his two-day visit to Austria, and his arrival is touted as historic as he is the first Indian leader to visit the European country in more than four decades. His visit comes in the wake of India and Austria celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations and he was accorded a warm welcome by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.

PM Modi's visit to Austria is significant as both sides will hold formal talks to explore ways to further deepen their bilateral relationship and closer cooperation on the many geopolitical challenges. Ahead of his visit, PM Modi said the shared values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law form the bedrock upon which the two countries will build an ever-closer partnership.

The Indian leader was welcomed by Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg at the airport and shared a bear hug and a selfie with Nehammer. He was also accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Federal Chancellory and the Indian diaspora in Austria came out in great numbers to greet the Indian leader.

A history of India-Austria relations

India and Austria established diplomatic relations in 1949 and New Delhi intervened in favour of Austria during its negotiations with the Soviet Union in 1953 on the State Treaty of Austria that saw the country's independence from Allied forces in 1955. Late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi last visited Austria in 1983, marking 41 years since any Indian leader visited the country.

However, India and Austria have had regular exchanges of visits, including at the level of leaders, ministers and parliamentarians highlighting the importance of both sides in further strengthening their relations. First PM Jawaharlal Nehru became the first Indian leader to visit Austria in 1955, followed by Indira Gandhi in 1971. Former Austrian Chancellors Bruno Kreisky and Fred Sinowatz visited India in 1980 and 1984 respectively.

Then-Austrian President Heinz Fischer visited India in 2005, followed by Indian ex-President Pratibha Patil's visit to the country in 2011. PM Modi, while on his first trip to Vienna, held a telephonic conversation with current Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on May 2020, where the leaders discussed measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

PM Modi also held a bilateral meeting with former Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg in 2021 on the sidelines of the COP26 in Glasgow. Prior to that, he also held a bilateral meeting with then-Austrian chancellor Christian Kern in St Petersburg on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

What is PM Modi's agenda in Austria?

PM Modi will call on Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen and will hold delegation-level talks with Nehammer to focus on "upgrading bilateral partnership to address challenges of the future". The talks will focus on exploring ways to further deepen the India-Austria bilateral relationship and foster closer cooperation on the many geopolitical challenges.

PM Modi and Nehammer will also hold talks with business leaders from both countries. The Indian leader also received a ceremonial Guard of Honour ahead of talks at the Federal Chancellory in Vienna. Earlier, Australian artists welcomed Modi with a rendition of Vande Mataram. The choir and orchestra were led by Lucknow-led Vijay Upadhyaya.

ALSO READ | PM Modi holds bilateral talks with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna | VIDEO

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