In between attending sessions for the annual G-20 Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked UK PM Theresa May for cooperation on bringing back to India economic offenders like Vijay Mallya. Modi and May interacted on the sidelines of the summit, in their first meeting after the elections in the UK and a spate of terrorist attacks in the country. The PM asked May for cooperation on bringing to justice economic offenders such as Vijay Mallya and Lalit Modi. While Mallya’s case is going to come up for its first substantive hearing in December, extradition proceedings are yet to begin in Lalit Modi’s case.
The G-20 leaders are expected to announce that Japan will be hosting the summit in 2019, instead of India. Sources said that the government will be busy with elections in 2019, and that could be one of the reasons for Delhi’s decision to back out. In his other meetings, Modi shared concerns over freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while inviting Norwegian pension funds to invest in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund in his interaction with Norway PM Erna Solberg.
Officials said that Modi also offered his support to the UK against terrorism and extremism, besides expressing his condolences over the terror incidents. The official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Gopal Baglay, said the PM asked for the UK’s cooperation on return of “escaped Indian economic offenders”.
Modi and Abe discussed “strategic partnership”, including coordinating their policies in the Indo-Pacific region, since both countries advocate free and open Indo-Pacific. This ties in well with India’s Act East policy, Japan PM’s spokesperson Norio Maruyama told The Sunday Express. When asked if the two leaders had discussed the India-China border stand-off, he did not comment. However, he pointed out that India, Japan and the US are participating in the Malabar exercise, as a reflection of their defence and strategic cooperation.
He also said that the civil nuclear cooperation agreement and its early operationalisation was also discussed between the two leaders. “The two leaders briefly reviewed progress in bilateral relations, including in important projects, since their last meeting in Japan during the Prime Minister’s visit in November 2016,” a statement said. Modi expressed satisfaction at developments in the bilateral relations since then.
“The Prime Minister said that he looked forward to Prime Minister Abe’s forthcoming visit to India for the next Annual Summit and hoped that it would further strengthen their cooperation,” the statement added.
Modi also met South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. He held a bilateral meeting with President of Argentina Mauricio Macri. He asked Moon for South Korea’s participation in India’s flagship programmes such as Make in India, Digital India and Start up India, the Ministry of External Affairs said, and invited the President to visit India at an early date. The invitation was accepted. Modi sought Italy’s participation in World Food India, a food processing exhibition to be held in India in November this year.