Narendra Modi has ‘full’ diplomatic calender ahead: Bhutan, Japan, US

New Delhi, Jun 6: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a busy foreign policy calendar with several foreign visits lined up over the next few months, beginning with Bhutan this month and to Japan in July. However, the neighbourhood would remain a foreign policy priority of the new government. External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, outlining the foreign visits of the prime minister, who was sworn in on May 26, said that many foreign leaders have extended invites to the prime minister to visit their country.

“The foreign policy inbox of the prime minister is full,” said the spokesperson. Without mentioning the dates, the spokesperson said that the prime minister would be visiting neighbouring Bhutan later this month. “India and Bhutan have regular exchanges at the highest level. Dates for the visit are still being explored,” he said. The prime minister would also be visiting Japan in July, accepting an invite from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Besides this, the prime minister would also be visiting the US in September where he would be attending the UN General Assembly and also hold a summit meeting with President Barack Obama. In July, the prime minister would also be visiting Brazil to attend the BRICS – the five-country grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – Summit. He also said that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj would be undertaking a bilateral visit after the Bhutan visit. Though the spokesperson declined to reveal the country, she is expected to make Dhaka the stop of her solo bilateral visit on June 26.

“The neighbourhood remains India’s priority (with the new government),” said the spokesperson.’ Ahead of the prime minister’s visit to Bhutan, he is expected to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who is arriving on Sunday. Wang is visiting India as special envoy of President Xi Jinping on June 8 and 9. The bilateral discussions with the Chinese leader are expected to be concluded on Sunday as on Monday President Pranab Mukherjee would be delivering his address to the 16th Lok Sabha. The Indian leadership is also likely to again interact with Pakistan in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA summit.

Besides this, the prime minister is also expected to attend the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN India summit in November in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The G-20 summit is lined up in Brisbane, Australia, on Nov 15-16, which he is expected to attend. There is also the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu in November. India has more than 20 strategic partners and is part of five multilateral and plurilateral organizations, he added. Sushma Swaraj is also likely to travel to the US to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of the September summit meeting for Indo-US strategic dialogue, said the spokesperson.