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The Big Picture – PM Narendra Modi’s Canadian and Europe visit: What’s on offer?

The Big Picture – PM Narendra Modi’s Canadian and Europe visit: What’s on offer?



The Nine Day visit of the Indian Prime Minister to France, Germany and Canada is being watched with

great deal of interest across the world. Prime Minister Modi during last 11 months in his office has made

many visits abroad with focus being on east and pacific nations. This had led to an impression that India

was ignoring West European Countries. This visit is expected to erase that impression. The visit is now

being dubbed in some parts of Europe as India’s link west policy. Two of the most significant parts,

France and Germany, have been major parts which can offer India many things in several areas while

India can also offer some key requirements to them. This visit has also a lot of significance as this is for

the first time an Indian PM is visiting on a bilateral visit in more than four decades.

This tour is seen as is an occasion for multipurpose diplomacy to further India’s interests. It advances a

‘Link West’ agenda to complement the ‘Act East’ policy and presents India as a balanced player that is

strategically attentive in all geographic directions. Industrialised Western powers have tremendous

potential to assist India’s rising economic graph. ‘Make in India’ campaign is also garnering serious

foreign attention. West Europe is important from technological point of view too. The three-nation tour

is also said to be centered on the PM’s economic agenda of improving growth, boosting commerce and

promoting Indian manufacturing.

France and Germany are two of the biggest foreign investors in India. While in France – India’s top

defense supplier within the EU – the PM will economic and defense issues, especially the sale of 126

Dassault Rafale fighter jets to India and discussions will also be held on satellite with electronic

intelligence systems (ELINT) package which could help India boost its strategic capabilities. Germany is

India’s largest trading partner in Europe and more than 1,000 German companies operate in the South

Asian nation, employing hundreds of thousands of people and manufacturing for the fast-growing Indian

market as well as for exports.

During his maiden trip to Europe, the PM was also expected to visit Brussels, but the plan was shelved

after the European Union reportedly failed to respond to India’s proposal in time. Trade ties with the EU

are very important for the Indian export sector, with bilateral trade estimated at 73 billion euros in the

2013-14 financial year.