External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is currently on a tour of Italy, France, Luxembourg and Brussels from 17 to 23 June. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Swaraj's tour of the four European nations will "provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with the political leadership on a wide range of global, regional and bilateral issues and advance India's growing strategic engagement with the European Union".
Swaraj, who arrived in Rome on Sunday, will call on Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte and also meet her counterpart, Enzo Moavero Milanesi, to review the bilateral relations between India and Italy.
The first leg of her visit will mark the first major political exchange between the two countries after Conte assumed charge as the prime minister on 1 June.
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) June 17, 2018
On Monday, Swaraj will travel to France to review bilateral relations with Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian. This will be the first important visit from the Indian side to France since the French president Emmanuel Macron's trip to India in March.
India and France are also celebrating the 20th anniversary of their strategic partnership. While in Paris, Swaraj will be the chief guest at a ceremony for the Indian Culture Centre and also interact with the Indian community.
Luxembourg: 19 to 20 June
Swaraj is scheduled to mark the first-ever visit to Luxembourg by an external affairs minister from India. The year 2018 also marks the 70th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. During her visit, Swaraj will be calling on the Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
Swaraj will also hold meetings with her counterpart Jean Asselborn and Finance Minister Pierre Gramegna. In Luxembourg, the Indian external affairs minister will also interact with the Indian community.
Belgium: 20 to 23 June
Swaraj will be meeting Didier Reynders, Belgium Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, in Brussels.
Since Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union, Swaraj will be calling on President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.
The MEA said that Swaraj will also meet her counterpart, Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to review the entire gamut of India-EU relations.
While in Brussels, Swaraj will deliver a keynote speech at a high-level event called ‘Climate, Peace and Security: Time for Action’. She is also scheduled to lead the International Yoga Day celebrations at the European Parliament and interact with the Indian community in Belgium.
In Brussels, Swaraj will meet the top leadership of the European Union during which both sides are likely to deliberate on removing hurdles for the resumption of negotiations on the long-pending EU-India free trade pact.
Updated Date: Jun 18, 2018 14:04 PM