New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today leave on a three-nation visit during which he will attend the India-EU summit in Brussels and the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
Speaking to media, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup along with three Joint Secretaries of the Ministry said, in the first leg of the tour, the Prime Minister will reach Brussels, the capital of Belgium today.
Nandini Singla, Joint Secretary (Europe West) said, Modi will take part in a series of activities at Brussels apart from addressing Indian diaspora. He will also take part in India-EU summit where he will take forward the ongoing consultations with the European Union on finalization of Broad based Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
“India is one of the 10 strategic partners that the EU has today,” Singla said. The last (India-EU) summit was held in New Delhi in 2012.
She said that EU continued to be a global economic powerhouse and was the biggest economy in the world with a GDP of $18 trillion. The EU is the world's largest exporter and importer of goods and services. For India, EU is the largest export destination and trading partner.
“Our two-way trade, including services, amounts to $1.6 billion. It is also the largest source of foreign direct investment in India with $69 billion,” Singla said, adding that the EU was also a global leader in establishing global norms and industry standards.
Singla said that during the summit meeting, India would aim to reinvigorate its ties with the EU. “We seek to advance the India-EU strategic partnership by deepening and expanding cooperation,” she stated.
Trade and investment would figure prominently during the summit meeting. Modi will meet President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker. The Prime Minister had met both these leaders during the G20 summit at Antalya in Turkey in November last year.
The Belgian Prime Minister will also host a luncheon meeting during which Modi will meet Belgian businessmen and CEOs in a bid to enhance foreign direct investment (FDI) in India. Belgium is India's second largest trading partner in the European Union.
Modi is also the first foreign dignitary who will be on the state visit to Belgium just a week after the deadly terror bombings which rocked Brussels. The Zaventem airport of Brussels, which bore the brunt of terror strikes, is still closed for flight operations.
In his second leg of the tour, the Prime Minister will attend the fourth Nuclear Security Summit at Washington on Thursday and Friday. He will present national progress report outlining the measures being taken by New Delhi for strengthening nuclear security and safety of nuclear technologies and devices. He is also likely to have bilateral meetings with heads of some countries.
Before wrapping up his trip, the Prime Minister will visit Saudi Arabia where 2.96 million Indians are residing. Modi will visit office of two Indian companies besides holding talks with Saudi leadership's on trade and investment among other issues.
Several agreements are expected to be signed in Brussels and Saudi Arabia during the Prime Minister's visit.