PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US was historic which re-affirmed his stature as a global leader. From leading an impressive yoga event at the United Nations to forging important defence and semiconductor production deals, PM Modi’s trip successfully showcased India’s cultural heritage, diplomatic prowess, and its growing influence on the world stage
U.S.-India relations has entered a new chapter under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India has put behind the dogmas of the past and moved towards a period of trusted partnership with new confidence. PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US was historic which re-affirmed his stature as a global leader. From leading an impressive yoga event at the United Nations to forging important defence and semiconductor production deals, PM Modi’s trip successfully showcased India’s cultural heritage, diplomatic prowess, and its growing influence on the world stage. PM Modi’s US visit is significant in many ways. He was the third world leader to have spoken to the US Congress twice, joining the august company of Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.
During the visit both the countries announced multiple agreements in various sector including defense, technology, microchips and visa renewal. An agreement was reached for the purchase of MQ-9 “Reaper” armed drones by India. There were announcements on co-producing GE’s 414 engines for indigenously produced Tejas Mk-2 aircraft, by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Micron Technology, with support from the India Semiconductor Mission, will invest more than $800 million in a new $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and test facility in India. A joint mission by the NASA and ISRO will also be sent to the International Space Station, next year.
After concluding his high-profile state visit to the US Prime Minister Modi reached Egypt. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the ‘Order of the Nile’, Egypt’s highest honour, by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi at the Presidential palace in Cairo. In the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Egypt in 26 years, India and Egypt elevated their relationship to a ‘Strategic Partnership’. Modi and El-Sisi focused on enhancing political and security cooperation. Both leaders signed the strategic partnership document after their wide-ranging talks encompassing political and security cooperation, defence collaboration, trade and investment ties, scientific and academic exchanges and strengthening people-to-people contacts. The two
Both the countries announced multiple agreements in various sector including defense, technology, microchips and visa renewal. An agreement was reached for the purchase of MQ-9 “Reaper” armed drones by India
countries also signed three more pacts on — agriculture and allied sectors; protection and preservation of monuments and archaeological sites; and competition law.
PM Modi and President El-Sisi also discussed further cooperation in G-20, highlighting the issues of food and energy insecurity, climate change and the need for the Global South to have a concerted voice. The Prime Minister also extended an invitation to El-Sisi to attend the G-20 Summit in New Delhi in September. Before departing for India, PM Modi visited Egypt’s historic 11th century Al-Hakim Mosque in Cairo, restored with the help of India’s Dawoodi Bohra community. Modi discussed Egypt-India ties as well as issues related to promoting social harmony and countering extremism and radicalisation with the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr Shawky Ibrahim Abdel-Karim Allam. He apprised the Grand Mufti that India would set up a Centre of Excellence in IT at the Dar-al-Ifta – an Egyptian advisory body for Islamic legal research – under the Ministry of Social Justice of Egypt.
PM Modi’s recent visit to France has set new benchmarks for strategic partnership between two nations. PM Modi was accorded a red-carpet welcome on his arrival in Paris on a two-day visit to attend Bastille Day Parade as a Guest of Honour. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the highest honour of France, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, by French President Emmanuel Macron. As the India and France also celebrate 25 years of establishment of their strategic partnership, the visit has provided an opportunity to chart the course of the partnership for the future across diverse sectors. Both the countries have also agreed to use Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment mechanism.
France is India’s oldest strategic partner. It was then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his counterpart Jacques Chirac in 1988 elevated the India France relationship to a strategic partnership. Both nations value their strategic autonomy, independent foreign policies, and seek a multipolar world. There is a convergence of interest in the Indo-Pacific region and both the countries seek to build balanced and stable order in Indo-Pacific. The two countries have released India-France Indo-Pacific Roadmap.
The defence relationship is robust, and is set to get stronger. Franco-Indian defence ties is no longer a buyer-seller model, it believes in jointly designing, developing and co-producing. This is a paradigmatic shift from the French side in terms of willingness to share the state-of-the-art technology. Some agreements highlight the transition in defence ties. Safran, the French company and the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) have agreed to jointly develop jet engines
PM Modi has strengthened relations with our traditional partners, added new dimensions to their relations with India, strengthened India’s defence preparedness
for the advanced medium combat aircraft. Submarines are proposed to be jointly built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders and the Naval Group of France. Following the war in Ukraine, diversification in defence imports is inevitable. It is becoming increasingly clear that France will play a huge role in this sector. France has emerged as the second largest exporter of defence equipment to India in the last ten years. 36 Rafale fighter jets have already been delivered. India’s procurement of 26 additional Rafale M fighters and Scorpene submarines, and a deal to jointly develop an aircraft engine in India are the major landmark deals signed during the visit.
After concluding two-days visit to France Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in UAE to hold talks with Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. PM Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome in Abu Dhabi at the Qasr-Al-Watan — the presidential palace — where he was greeted by the UAE President with a warm embrace. Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured India’s full support for UAE’s COP-28 presidency as he also held productive talks with the U.N. climate conference’s President-designate Sultan Al Jaber in Abu Dhabi.
India and the UAE agreed to start trade settlement in their currencies and link the Indian Unified Payments Interface with the Gulf country’s Instant Payment Platform. In his remarks after meeting the UAE President, Mr. Modi said India-UAE trade witnessed a 20% increase since the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement last year. He said the agreement signed for trade settlement in the currencies of the two countries has shown the strong economic cooperation and mutual trust between the two nations.
In summary, during the visit to four countries, PM Modi has strengthened relations with our traditional partners, added new dimensions to their relations with India, strengthened India’s defence preparedness, revitalized India’s civilizational connect and continued his endeavour to globalise innovative Indian fintech solutions such as UPI.
(The writer is In-Charge,
BJP Foreign Affairs Department)