PM Modi's Europe visit will shape a strategic partnership of cooperation: Foreign Secretary Kwatra
The visit will also see an exchange of perspective on the Ukraine issue, he said
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Germany, Denmark, and France builds on existing strengths of the relationship, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said on Sunday.
Addressing a special briefing on Prime Minister Modi's Europe visit in his first interaction with the media after taking over as Foreign Secretary, he said it would shape a forward looking, progressive strategic partnership of economic cooperation, development partnership, green agenda, etc., with these countries.
Responding to a question about Ukraine being on the agenda during the visit, he said "When Prime Minister interfaces with these leaders, naturally, the issues of regional and global importance would also figure in the discussions. But I must repeat and reiterate that the principal focus of the visits and discussions is to structure and strengthen bilateral partnership across a range of areas and of course exchange perspective on the Ukraine issue also".
Referring to India's stand on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Kwatra said that India's stand has been amplified, made clear, enunciated in great detail in multiple fora.
"And I'll just single out few key elements of it. One, we've always maintained that there should be cessation of hostilities in Ukraine, and two, the path to the resolution goes through diplomacy and dialogue. And I think these strands pretty much capture what we have to say in Ukraine," Foreign Secretary Kwatra said.
PM Modi's first meeting with Chancellor Scholz
Giving details about the visit to Germany, Foreign Secretary Kwatra said, on Monday, Prime Minister Modi will co-host with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the sixth edition of India-Germany intergovernmental consultations (IGC) in Berlin. This will be the Indian Prime Minister's first meeting with Chancellor Scholz after he assumed office last December.
"The meeting between the two leaders would provide an excellent platform not only to strengthen the existing, multifaceted bilateral partnership, but would also shape and develop an ambitious agenda of cooperation for the months and years ahead between India and Germany, including in the field of development partnership, green agenda, Trade Investment linkages, and the overall strategic partnership," he noted.
The Foreign Secretary described the IGC as "a unique mechanism which brings together several ministers and officials from both sides to engage in bilateral discussions culminating in a plenary session which is chaired by the two leaders to review, take stock and assess the cooperation between the two countries across a range of area as also to identify fresh areas of partnership".
According to him, in the plenary session of the IGC the focus on cooperation is along three strands. First, foreign affairs and security. Two, economic financial policy, scientific and social exchange. Three, climate, environment, sustainable development and energy.
"During the IGC, the Prime Minister would be assisted by senior ministers from Government of India, including Finance Minister, External Affairs Minister and Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences. I must mention here that these ministers would also have a separate and substantive program of their own besides assisting the Honourable Prime Minister in the deliberations of the IGC," the Foreign Secretary said.
The IGC would then be followed by a high level roundtable where Prime Minister Modi and Chancellor Scholz would interact with the top CEOs of both the countries. Prime Minister Modi will subsequently interact and address the Indian diaspora in Germany.
"As you know, last couple of years of COVID has been a constraint on international travel so this would be an exciting opportunity for Prime Minister to interact with the Indian diaspora," FS Kwatra said.
In the evening, Chancellor Scholz will host a private dinner for Prime Minister Modi.
Denmark leg of PM Modi's visit
On May 3, after concluding the German leg, the Prime Minister will travel to Copenhagen on an official visit at the invitation of Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen.
"This will be Prime Minister's first visit to Denmark but his third summit level interaction with the Danish Prime Minister and the discussions will focus on bilateral issues, as well as issues of regional and global interest. Prime Ministers of India and Denmark would later also interact with the business leaders of both countries under the auspices of India-Denmark Business Forum," the Foreign Secretary said.
The partnership with Denmark includes the Green Strategic Partnership, which is a model of cooperation that focuses on renewable energy, sustainability and green growth, he said.
"The visit will be an opportunity for us to also shape new elements of partnership in the field of skill development, shipping, agri technology and mobility," Foreign Secretary Kwatra said.
On May 4, Prime Minister Modi will participate in the 2nd India-Nordic summit with the Prime Ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway. But prior to the start of the summit, Prime Minister will also hold bilateral summit meetings with the leaders of Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland.
According to the Foreign Secretary, India's partnership with the Nordic countries is structured around:
1. Green partnership
2. The entire space of digital and innovation economy
3. Economy, Trade and Investment linkages
4. Sustainable development
5. The partnership relating to the Arctic region
"The Nordic summit will provide an opportunity to take forward the agenda in these clusters forward. I must mention here that India is the only country apart from the United States with whom the Nordic countries have summit level meetings, which I just mentioned," he pointed out.
Stopover in Paris, France
On his way back from Copenhagen on May 4, Prime Minister Modi will make a brief stopover in Paris, France.
"France, as you know, is an important partner of India and Europe, and also holds currently the EU presidency. As you also know that President Macron has just won a second term and the India-France friendship and strategic partnership has seen a great momentum, thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and President Macron as also their close friendship," he pointed out.
According to the Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister's visit to France will provide an opportunity for India to carry forward the high level engagement between the two countries, post the French presidential elections.
"As you know both countries have continuously nurtured and delivered on the ambition of their strategic partnership, particularly in the areas like clean energy environment, People to People ties, space, digital, manufacturing in high end sectors, etc. In Paris, Prime Minister and President Macron will hold extensive talks across various formats. Prime Minister will depart France on the same night on of May 4," Foreign Secretary Kwatra said.