Narendra Modi to arrive in Sweden today; PM set for 'unprecedented' welcome during visit to UK later this week

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Sweden and Britain from 16 to 21 April, during which he will attend the first India-Nordic Summit and this year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), officials said.

After reaching Stockholm on the evening of 16 April, Modi will first hold a bilateral summit with his Swedish counterpart Stefan Lofven the next day, following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed.

Addressing the media in New Delhi, Subrata Bhattacharjee, Joint Secretary (Central Europe) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said Modi will also have an audience with Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf.

This apart, Modi and Lofven will attend a round table of Swedish CEOs.

"Around $1.4 billion have been invested in India by over 170 Swedish companies since 2000," Bhattacharjee said.

Narendra Modi to arrive in Sweden today; PM set for unprecedented welcome during visit to UK later this week

File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

With Sweden home to a 20,000-strong Indian diaspora, Modi will also interact with members of the Indian community.

Also on 17 April, India and Sweden will co-host the first-ever India-Nordic Summit in Stockholm which will be attended by the Prime Ministers of the other four Nordic countries — Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.

Modi will also hold bilateral meetings with the prime ministers of the other four Nordic countries.

"Nordic countries are a good source of clean technologies," Bhattacharjee said.

The Indian leader will leave Stockholm for London on 17 April.

On 18 April Modi will hold a bilateral summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May after which several agreements are expected to be signed.

"We are looking at 10 to 12 deliverables and a joint statement," said K Nagaraj Naidu, Joint Secretary (Europe West) in the Ministry of External Affairs.

In what has been categorised as an "unprecedented" welcome, Modi will hold not just one but two meetings with his British counterpart Theresa May on Wednesday before they begin formal deliberations as part of the multilateral Commonwealth summit on Thursday.

Stating that the theme of the visit to Britain was "Living bridge and tech partnership", Naidu said that an India-UK Tech Alliance was likely to be announced.

Modi is also among only three senior world leaders attending CHOGM to be invited for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday evening, officials said. The prime minister's royal welcome will include a special event hosted by Prince Charles, during which the heir to the British throne will drive up in a Tata Motors' first-ever electric Jaguar to symbolise the India-UK technical collaboration.

A visit to the Francis Crick Institute was on the schedule, where the prime minister is expected to meet Indian scientists among others.

The launch of a new Ayurvedic Centre of Excellence, marked by an MoU between the All India Institute of Ayurveda and College of Medicine in the UK is also expected. The centre is aimed at creating a first-of-its-kind global network involving Indian and British academics and medical professionals to coordinate on evidence-based research on yoga and Ayurveda.

During a packed day of activities on Wednesday, Modi is also expected to pay tribute at the Basaveshwara statue on the banks of the river Thames, which he had inaugurated during his last visit to the UK in 2015.

With economic ties being an important pillar of the India-Britain bilateral relationship, Modi and May will attend a CEOs Forum.

"We are the fourth largest investor and the second largest job creator in the UK," Naidu said.

Modi will also address the world in a globally broadcast live event from the historic Central Hall Westminster in London, following in the footsteps of speakers such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

According to the Europe India Forum, the organisers of Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath on Wednesday evening, the Indian prime minister will address people of all nationalities and backgrounds as questions pour in on social media from far and wide—from the North Pole to New Zealand and Saudi Arabia to San Francisco

After ending the bilateral leg of his visit, Modi will attend this year's CHOGM on 19-20 April.

While 19 April is the day of the main session of the 53-nation event, the prime minister will participate in a leaders' retreat on 20 April, which will be an informal affair, according to Rudendra Tandon, Joint Secretary (United Nations Political) in the External Affairs Ministry.

"Over the years, the Commonwealth has occupied a niche position in the development space in the world," Tandon said.

The Prime Minister will return to India on 21 April.

On the sidelines of the "unprecedented" welcome, Modi will also be greeted with some protests at Parliament Square on Wednesday afternoon, being spearheaded by Pakistani-origin peer, Lord Ahmed, and bringing together UK-based Kashmiri and Sikh groups.

A counter-demonstration titled British Indians Welcome Prime Minister Modi is also planned at the same time at Parliament Square.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Apr 16, 2018 08:14:18 IST

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