After returning to power for the second consecutive term, prime minister-elect Narendra Modi is expected to have a packed agenda this year as far as foreign tours and bilateral meetings are concerned. In his first bilateral visit after he assumes office for the second term, Modi is expected to travel to the Maldives on 7-8 June, reports said. The prime minister-elect and his Council of Ministers will be sworn in on 30 May.
Apart from Maldives, Modi is also expected to meet US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The prime minister-elect has agreed to meet Trump on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Japan next month, reports have confirmed.
Modi had earlier visited Maldives in November 2018, to attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, after he surprisingly defeated Abdulla Yameen in the presidential polls. This was followed by Solih's visit to India in December after New Delhi had announced financial assistance of $1.4 billion to Male in the form of budgetary support, currency swap and concessional lines of credit to fulfil the socio-economic development programmes in the country. During Solih's visit, the two leaders had agreed to work together to create institutional linkages and to establish a framework of cooperation in health cooperation issues, particularly cancer treatment, mutual legal assistance on criminal matters, investment promotion, human resource development, and tourism.
Meeting with Trump
The prime minister will most likely meet Trump on the sidelines of G-20 Summit in Japan next month. The news broke when Trump telephoned Modi to congratulate him on the historic electoral victory in the Lok Sabha polls. The G-20 Summit meeting is slated for 28 and 29 June. The White House said that the President and Prime Minister pledged to continue to strengthen the United States-India strategic partnership, building on the achievements of the last two years. Modi had responded saying, "I too am looking forward to working closely with you for closer bilateral ties, which also augur well for global peace and prosperity."
Meeting with Xi Jinping
Meanwhile, India has also proposed that the next informal summit between Modi and Xi Jinping be held on 11 October in Varanasi, The Indian Express reported.
The first informal summit between the two leaders took place in Wuhan in Hubei province in China on April 27-28, 2018. The two leaders then spent two days at a lakeside guest house in Wuhan and held discussions for almost 10 hours. The visit comes in the backdrop of an impending US-China trade war, China flexing its muscles in the South China Sea (SCS) which serves as a passage for annual trade worth $3.5 trillion, and the long-standing border dispute between China and India.
Apart from this, the prime minister will also be warming up to world leaders from the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). Like SAARC leaders last time, heads of government from neighbouring BIMSTEC countries are likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony on 30 May. Member countries of BIMSTEC include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand besides India. Of the member nations, Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed her inability to attend the swearing-in ceremony, citing prior engagements. Bangladesh President Mohammad Abdul Hamid will attend the event. Hasina had missed Modi’s oath-taking ceremony in 2014 too as she was travelling.
Meanwhile, the only missing name in the list of important countries in India's neighbourhood to which it has not reached out is Pakistan, which is not invited to Modi's swearing-in this time after relations between the beleaguered neighbours soured mid-term and hit its nadir after the Pulwama attack in February, which was followed by India's aerial strikes on terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan.
Pakistan has tried to downplay India's decision not to invite Imran Khan claiming that the Indian prime minister's "internal politics" do not permit him to extend an invitation to his Pakistani counterpart.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: May 29, 2019 10:21:28 IST