New Delhi, Mar 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to begin his first major foreign tour for the year 2016. Brussels would be the first stop in Modi’s itinerary followed by Washington and Saudi Arabia. Modi would reach the European shores on March 30, kicking off his yet another high-stake global tour, which would also allow him to grab headlines for the forthcoming days. Also Read - Cyclone Burevi Makes Landfall in Sri Lanka; India Braces For Impact, PM Modi Speaks to CMs, Assures All Help
Modi’s visit to Brussels comes at a time when India’s trade relation with the European Union is taking a bump. Ever since the regime altered in mid-2014, the stalwarts of EU have shown lack of trust in India. The FDI equity inflow has been constantly dropping ever since Modi came to power. While the foreign investment roughly stood at $24,913 million between 2012-14, it dropped to $8,207 million in 2014-15. In the same period, trade in goods dropped by 4 per cent $98 billion, whereas, the bilateral trade in services also shrunk by 2.5 per cent, bringing it down to %26 billion. (ALSO READ: Narendra Modi to visit Brussels as part of 3 nation tour from March 30) Also Read - Republic Day Parade 2021: India Invites UK PM Boris Johnson to be Chief Guest This Time
Narendra Modi’s schedule of Brussels visit includes: Also Read - Delhi Chalo: Rahul Gandhi Slams Modi Government Over Farmers Protest, Fires 'Suit-Boot' Jibe
Attending 13th India-EU summit
The 13th India-EU summit is hosted after a gap of nearly 4 years. The then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh attended the conference when India’s bilateral relation with the European Union was at an all-time high. However, as enlisted above, the economic relation with the EU has shown a declining trend since the past 18-months.
The lack of confidence could be gauged by the fact that the 28-nation bloc of EU had rejected New Delhi’s offer in April 2015, where the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had proposed that Modi could visit Brussels, the headquarter of EU, to address the member nations after his trip to France, Germany and Canada.
Under such circumstances, the spotlight would be on Modi to reinstill the confidence among EU regarding investment and bilateral trade with India. As the champions of Modinomics would want us to believe, the Indian prime minister has the capacity of presenting his nation as a lucrative ‘land of milk and honey’.
Bilateral meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel
India has been a strategic partner with Brussels since 2006. The meeting between Modi and Charles Michel would largely be centered around the menace of transnational terrorism. Bilateral trade would also be discussed to an extent to supplement the discussions which would occur in India-EU summit.
Although, there were talks of Modi-Michel meet being called off due to the devastating terror attack, the Belgian Prime Minister has confirmed that meeting his Indian counterpart will remain one of his priorities.
Address to 5,000 strong Indian diaspora
Indian Prime Minister’s address to the diaspora is the ‘icing on the cake’ of most of his foreign tours. Belgium has a significant amount of Indians among its immigrant population. Modi would be addressing diaspora later in the day on March 30 at Brussels Expo. 5,000 tickets for the event has already been sold. However, due to the recent terror attack, the diaspora event would not be conducted with much grandeur.