New Delhi: Ahead of his visit to Germany, Denmark and France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said his trip to Europe comes at a time when the region faces many challenges and choices, and that he intends to strengthen the spirit of cooperation with India’s European partners.
In a statement, Mr. Modi said he will be visiting Berlin on May 2 at the invitation of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, following which he will travel to Copenhagen on May 3-4 at the invitation of his Danish counterpart Mette Frederiksen to hold bilateral engagements and also participate in the Second India-Nordic Summit.
On the way back to India, Mr. Modi said, he will make a brief stopover in Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
My visit to Europe comes at a time when the region faces many challenges and choices,” Mr. Modi said.
“Through my engagements, I intend to strengthen the spirit of cooperation with our European partners, who are important companions in India’s quest for peace and prosperity,” the Prime Minister said in his departure statement.
The visit comes amid the Ukraine crisis, which has united much of Europe against Russia.
Detailing his engagements, Mr. Modi said his visit to Berlin will be an opportunity to hold detailed bilateral discussions with Chancellor Scholz, whom he met at G20 last year in his previous capacity as Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister.
“We will co-chair the 6th India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations (IGC), a unique biennial format which India conducts only with Germany. Several Indian ministers will also travel to Germany and hold consultations with their German counterparts,” Mr. Modi said.
The Prime Minister said he sees this IGC as an early engagement with the new government in Germany, within six months of its formation, which will be helpful to identify priorities for the medium and long term.
In 2021, India and Germany commemorated 70 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations and have been strategic partners since 2000, he noted.
“I look forward to exchanging views with Chancellor Scholz on strategic, regional and global developments that concern us both,” Mr. Modi said.
Noting that the long-standing commercial ties between India and Germany form one of the pillars of their strategic partnership, Mr. Modi said Chancellor Scholz and he will also jointly address a Business Roundtable with the goal of energising their industry to industry cooperation, which will help strengthen the post-Covid economic recovery in both countries.
“Continental Europe is home to over one million persons of Indian origin, and Germany has a significant proportion of this Diaspora. The Indian Diaspora is an important anchor in our relations with Europe and therefore I will take the opportunity of my visit to the continent to meet our brothers and sisters there,” the Prime Minister said.
From Berlin, Modi said, he will travel to Copenhagen where he will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Frederiksen which will provide an opportunity to review the progress in India’s unique ‘Green Strategic Partnership’ with Denmark, as well as other aspects of bilateral relations.
“I will also participate in the India-Denmark Business Roundtable as well as interact with the Indian community in Denmark,” Mr. Modi said.
Apart from the bilateral engagements with Denmark, Mr. Modi said he will also take part in the 2nd India-Nordic Summit along with Prime Ministers of Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Sweden and Norway where they will take stock of cooperation since the First India-Nordic Summit in 2018.
“The Summit will focus on subjects like post-pandemic economic recovery, climate change, innovation and technology, renewable energy, the evolving global security scenario and India-Nordic cooperation in the Arctic region,” Mr. Modi said.
On the sidelines of the Summit, the Prime Minister said he will also meet the leaders of the other four Nordic countries and review the progress in India’s bilateral relations with them.
Noting that Nordic countries are important partners for India in sustainability, renewable energy, digitisation and innovation, he said the visit will help in expanding India’s multifaceted cooperation with the Nordic region.
India-France Strategic Partnership
During my return journey, I will stop over in Paris to meet my friend, President Macron. President Macron has very recently been re-elected, and my visit just 10 days after the result will not only allow me to convey my personal congratulations in person, but also reaffirm the close friendship between the two countries,” Mr. Modi said.
“This will also give us the opportunity to set the tone of the next phase of the India-France Strategic Partnership. President Macron and I will share assessments on various regional and global issues and will take stock of ongoing bilateral cooperation,” he said.
Mr. Modi said it is his firm belief that two countries that share such similar vision and values for the global order must work in close cooperation with each other.
Government sources on Saturday had said that in his first visit abroad this year, Prime Minister Modi will have 25 hectic engagements in his three-day trip to as many countries where he will be spending around 65 hours.