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Indian Prime Minister Starts His Trip to Three European Nations and Russia

May 29, 2017 (EIRNS)—Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun his four-nation trip through Germany, Spain, Russia, and France today. He will be returning on June 3. In Russia, he will be heading the 18th India-Russia Annual Summit in St. Petersburg with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he will also hold a bilateral summit. From all available accounts, one of the main purposes of Modi’s six-day trip is to tie up business deals and to encourage investment in India.

In Germany, he will be meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Speaking prior to his departure, Randhir Jaiswal, Joint secretary (Europe West) in India’s External Affairs Ministry, said that Germany is the largest trading partner of India in the European Union.

"German economic profile, support, excellence, and expertise match with our development priorities, be it ‘Make in India,’ ‘Skill India,’ ‘Clean India,’ ‘Digital India,’ and "Smart Cities’"

Jaiswal said, the Hindustan Times reported.

In Spain, discussions will center on investment and technology. Jaiswal said:

"Spain enjoys a reputation in the fields of renewable energy, high-speed rail, infrastructure, tunneling, technology solutions, including civil aviation air space management, and waste water management,"

the Hindustan Times reported.

In Russia, G.V. Srinivas, joint secretary (Eurasia) in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, said Modi’s participation in the India-Russia Annual Summit "signals that there will be emphasis on trade and investment during the Russian leg of the tour." He also pointed out that, while India-Russia cooperation in the areas of defense, nuclear, and space was "very, very ahead," bilateral trade has come down for a variety of reasons, from $10 billion to around $7 billion now, the news article reported.

Also likely to be on Modi’s agenda during his talks with President Putin, is the growing divergence in the views of Moscow and New Delhi vis-à-vis the Afghan situation. While Russia is now talking openly of accommodating the Taliban to share power in Kabul, India has remained vehemently opposed to that view.