Modi in India after European tour

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with his UK counterpart Theresa May at 10 Downing Street in London on Wednesday April 18, 2018 [Image: PMO, India]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has returned to New Delhi after concluding a three-nation trip

He capped off his diplomatic tour with stop in Berlin where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Although no details have been released about their talks, Modi’s visit with Merkel is seen as a testament to strengthening India-Germany cooperation.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that Modi’s visit “demonstrates India’s mutual desire to strengthen the strategic partnership“.

Among European nations, Germany is India’s largest trading partner.

Modi had been on a five-day trip to Britain and Sweden.

On Tuesday, Modi attended the inaugural session of the India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm, which was heralded by Swedish media as a strategic boost in ties between the two countries.

Modi also met with his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven who expressed his hopes for continued bilateral cooperation with India in defence, and science and development.

“I am confident that in the future in this sector, especially in defence production, there will be many opportunities for bilateral cooperation,” Lofven said.

Modi for his part stressed partnerships in energy, traffic and waste management and innovation technologies.

In London, where Modi spent nearly three days, the prime minister addressed the Indian diaspora, but the bulk of his trip to Britain was spent finalizing trade deals worth $1.3 billion.

He also discussed with UK Prime Minister Theresa May the prospects for a post-Brexit bilateral free trade agreement. His talks with British leaders also focused on cooperation in the areas healthcare, innovation, digitization, electric mobility, clean energy, and cyber security.

Modi also attended the Commonwealth Summit in London (the first for India in nearly a decade), and met with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

Modi a counterweight to Trump’s protectionism

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi delivering his keynote speech, at the plenary session of the World Economic Forum, in Davos on January 23, 2018 [PMO, India]

Irony was a guest at the 48th World Economic Forum on Monday when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to the stage to deliver a blistering defense of free trade just as the US announced additional tariffs on Chinese solar panels, washing machines, and aluminum and steel exports.

But Modi deftly navigated the increasing protectionist measures taken by the US since US President Donald Trump won the elections.

“The negative impact of this kind of mindset cannot be considered less dangerous than climate change or terrorism,” Modi told world leaders and delegates in Davos.

Modi has clout. India is a central member of BRICS, a growing and persistent economic power and a destination for global investors.

It’s little surprise that in 2018, Modi became the first Indian prime minister to deliver the keynote speech; he is the first Indian prime minister to attend the Davos forum in 20 years.

It’s also not surprising that the theme of the World Economic Forum this year is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”.

Modi warned that if the world did not cooperate on free trade, combating terrorism and protecting the environment, there won’t be much of a future to share.

Addressing the multi-faceted fractures which challenge global growth and development, Modi said that there is a divide between the requirements of today and the needs of conservation for future.

“However, the only hope is that we all want to tackle them. We want to see a co-operative, harmonious, sharing and caring world. In fact, this is where the hope lies.”

To this end, Modi said: “India has always seen the domestic and the global as mutually reinforcing and inseparable parts of the same organic arrangement.”

“Forces of protectionism are raising their heads against globalization,” he added. “It feels like the opposite of globalization is happening.”

Modi’s words carry traction. India’s 2018 growth forecast is 7.3 per cent, while the forecast for 2019 is 7.5.

The is welcome news to Modi who had been severely criticized for his demonitization campaign in fall 2016 as a principal reason for the economy lagging.

Counterweight

Analysts see India’s Modi as a counterweight to Trump, who is expected to arrive in Davos at the end of the week now that American legislators have agreed on a bill to reopen the stalled US government.

But Modi’s statements also echo the sentiments of fellow BRICS member China, and not coincidentally.

Last year, Xi Jinping became the first Chinese President to address and participate in the World Economic Forum.

Don’t pursue your own interests at the expense of others, Xi told world leaders in staunch support of multilateralism and globalization in 2017.

The Chinese president emphasized that globalization should not be blamed for the lackluster performance of the global economy.

He said that new models of global growth and comprehensive cooperation could overcome inadequate global economic governance and unequal development.

Xi also stressed that protectionism (and isolationism) were not the answers to the global economic crisis and warned taking such measures was akin to locking oneself in a dark room.

By Firas Al-Atraqchi with inputs from Agencies

Italian PM to meet Modi, Indian execs

Narendra Modi has maintained that he will seek a free-trade pact with the EU [Xinhua]

Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni arrived in India on Sunday to begin his two-day state visit in which he hopes to boost bilateral political and economic relations.

Gentiloni will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in talks that are likely to focus on improving ties that have been strained for over five years after two Italian marines shot and killed two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.

The two marines were arrested by Indian authorities but subsequently let go after a feud between Delhi and Rome over jurisdiction.

Gentiloni will also meet with President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu as well as hold talks with a number of business leaders in New Delhi.

The Italian prime minister is heading a delegation of 15 prominent businessmen who will explore trade and investment opportunities with their Indian counterparts. Italy is considered the 13th largest investor in India.

In 2016, trade between the two countries reached nearly $9 billion.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

India and EU to jointly combat terrorism

Narendra Modi has maintained that he will seek a free-trade pact with the EU [Xinhua]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded an agreement reached with the European Union to jointly fight terrorism.

“We agreed on fighting against terrorism together and increasing cooperation towards it,” Modi said following talks with delegations led by European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the 14th annual Indo-EU Summit in Delhi on Saturday.

India and the EU also pledged to share information and look for measures to combat the online threat of radicalisation, and “to engage in capacity building activities, such as training and workshops.”

For his part, Tusk said that India and the Eu have agreed to cooperate in security in the Indian Ocean region and beyond.

“We adopted a joint declaration on counter-terrorism to deal effectively with the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, terror financing and arms supply arms supply,” he added.

The two leaders also discussed ways to boost the India-EU Strategic Partnership and possible future free trade agreements.

In their final communique at the conclusion of the summit, India and the EU “welcomed the growing convergence on contemporary global issues and agreed to enhance India-EU cooperation in all multilateral fora. They also recognised their common responsibility towards ensuring international peace and security, and an open and inclusive international order.”

On Friday, India also agreed to joint anti-terrorism measures with Australia during the convening of the India-Australia joint steering committee in New Delhi.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies