Narendra Modi in Stockholm hails Indian diaspora before London stopover where protests and rallies await

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed for London after meetings in Stockholm with counterparts from Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Norway even as the brutal rape and killing of a child in Kashmir continues to headline the Modi and India story in world media.

Modi's trip to Stockholm is the first bilateral visit by an Indian premier to the Nordic nation in 30 years.

Modi signed off in Sweden with an address to the Indian diaspora at Stockholm University before winging to the UK. Modi repeated many of the themes that have headlined his speeches to the Indian diaspora in other foreign lands too. "Many of you left India years ago. You might recall, one had to wait for days for LPG gas cylinder. Now suppliers call and ask “can we deliver a cylinder?” Modi told a huge audience at Stockholm University late Tuesday.

While protests refuse to die down in India over women's safety and the rape and murder of a child in Kathua, Kashmir, Modi spoke about women's empowerment in Stockholm. "There used to just slogans about Garibi Hatao. Now empowerment is a tool especially for women who have been poverty stricken", he said. He asked Indians in Nordic countries to give back to the idea of a 'New India' before heading to London where he will first meet with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Protests and rallies over the Kathua and Unnao rape cases in India are likely to coincide with Modi's visit to the UK. This is Narendra Modi's second bilateral visit to the U.K. in three years, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

 Narendra Modi in Stockholm hails Indian diaspora before London stopover where protests and rallies await

Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and his Swedish counterpart Stefan Löfven. Twitter @PMO_India

During his Sweden visit, Modi met Danish Premier Lars Lokke Rasmussen and held talks on renewing and enhancing cooperation. The two leaders exchanged documents in areas related to animal husbandry, dairy farming and urban development.

Prime Minister Modi also had an "excellent meeting" with his Finnish counterpart Juha Sipila. The two leaders discussed enhancing cooperation in trade and investment, renewable energy, space, waste management, start-up and education, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

"Fruitful discussions with PM of #India @narendramodi in Stockholm. Recalled our first meeting in Mumbai in 2016 and had concrete negotiations how to promote our cooperation further in energy, space, education", Sipila tweeted.

Modi also met Iceland Premier Katrin Jakobsdottir and "reviewed the full range of India-Iceland relations during their meeting", the Indian PMO said.. "We deliberated on ways to boost economic and people-to-people relations between our nations," Modi said after the meeting.

"PM urged Icelandic companies to look at India as an investment destination in geothermal energy and strengthen cooperation in education, tourism and culture," Kumar said of the meeting between the two leaders.

Later, Modi also met his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg.

"Had a wonderful meeting with Prime Minister Erna Solberg. There is immense potential to boost relations with Norway especially in areas such as innovation, trade and clean energy," Modi said after the meeting.

"A wonderful meeting between PM @erna_solberg of Norway and PM @narendramodi. India values the deep-rooted friendship with Norway," a tweet on the PMO Twitter handle said.

Earlier in the day, Modi held delegation-level talks with his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven on a wide range of issues.

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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2018 04:43:46 IST