Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave tomorrow for his 41st foreign trip since May 2014, travelling to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, USA, and Mexico. Here are five things you should know:
Development work at Afghanistan
On Saturday, he will inaugurate the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam (which was earlier called the Salma Dam) with Afghanistan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani in Herat province. About 1,500 engineers and workers from India and Afghanistan have built this dam at the cost of approximately ₹1,700 crores, and will help in irrigation and provide drinking water.
Making Qatar an economic partner
Modi is the first Indian PM to visit four countries in the Gulf within the space of one year (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar), according to the external affairs ministry. While India's trade with the region is $112 billion, and $10 billion with Qatar specifically. Two-thirds of our energy supply come from the Gulf. The Indian diaspora in the region is huge — about eight million Indian nationals are based there, as per government estimates. Modi hopes to make Qatar an important economic partner, and he wants to encourage business leaders in Doha who he will be meeting to invest in India.
Getting investors from Switzerland
Switzerland is India's fifth largest trading partner, globally, and the 11th largest investor in India. The PM will meet business leaders to invest more in India, particularly in renewable energy and vocational education.
Military cooperation with the USA
On his second bilateral visit to the USA, PM Modi will meet President Obama on 7 June, which is the seventh time the two leaders have met since Modi was elected to power. He is expected to address the joint meeting of the US Congress, which is a rare honour. He is the fifth Indian PM to do so after Rajiv Gandhi, Narsimhan Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Manmohan Singh.
Interestingly, the US will be returning several Indian antiquities during Modi's visit.
India and the USA are finalising agreements so that the two militaries can cooperate closely, Reuters reported. Modi will be meeting the US Defence Secretary. The USA recently overtook Russia as India's top arms supplier.
Building collaboration with Mexico
The last time there was such a bilateral visit was in 1986, when Rajiv Gandhi was PM. The two-way trade is $6 billion at the moment. India is the largest importer of crude oil from Mexico in Asia, and during the Mexican President H.E. Enrique Peña Nieto's dinner with PM Modi, the two leaders are expected to speak on collaboration in space research, energy, agriculture and science and technology.