Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits have always been enthusiastically followed by the Indian media, right from his first trip to Bhutan last year. The trend repeated this week as well when PM Modi undertook a three-nation tour as part of his attempts to woo foreign investors and CEOs to start business in India. His trips are a heady mix of everything that includes cultural programmes, visits to war memorials and detailed bilateral talks. While his public functions are broadcast-ed across television channels and plastered across newspaper front pages, people are often caught in the dark when inquired about the actual deals on the ground that India signed with these countries. Well, there’s no need to worry at all as we attempt to break down the Prime Minister’s tour to France, Germany and Canada.
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First up, France.
PM Modi held wide-ranging consultations with French PM Francois Hollande and conducted round-table discussions with French CEOs. His pet themes were giving a boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign and to re-energize key infrastructure deals with these countries. He also had a ‘naav pe charcha’ with Hollande as he went on a cruise on the Seine river with the French premier.
Here are some of the key agreements signed between the two countries.
1. An MOU was signed between L&T and Areva aimed at cost reduction by increasing localisation and improve the financial viability of the Jaitapur nuclear plant project in Maharashtra. Transfer of technology in this regard is also enabled.
2. An MoU between ISRO and French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) on the Indo-French Megha Tropiques satellite which was launched on board the Indian launch vehicle PSLV on October 12, 2011.
3. India asked France to supply 36 Rafale fighter jets in ‘fly-away’ condition. The deal was deemed landmark as there has been hectic negotiations over the deal for years. The deal is good news for the Indian Air Force which desperately needs more multi-role combat aircraft.
4. An MoU in the field of renewable energy was signed by respective ministries of the two countries.
5. An MoU to renew exchange and cooperation in the field of sports medicine, support of participation of women and disabled in sports was also undertaken.
6. A railway protocol to develop semi high speed corridor in India was taken up by both countries.
7. Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer, promised to increase outsourcing in India from the present 400 million euros to 2 billion euros.
Off to Germany now.
The PM’s visit to Germany was widely covered by the media there especially his inauguration of the famous Hannover industrial fair along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
1. Both leaders spoke in favour of a free trade agreement between the European Union and India. PM Modi said that this was important for the expansion of India as a manufacturing hub.
2. The joint statement by both countries recognized the establishment of a working group on urban development.
3. PM Modi promised to set up a mechanism to help German companies invest and do business in India — something that he has done only for Japan and the US.
4. While addressing a diaspora event in Berlin, PM Modi said that India would lead the way in dealing with climate change. He added that India is not answerable to the world in relation to climate change.
5. The two countries said stronger educational exchanges will be encouraged along with collaborations between universities.
Finally to Canada.
Modi became the first PM to arrive in Canada in a stand-alone bilateral visit in 42 years. His visit was largely welcomed by Canada, a country home to a big Indian diaspora. PM Modi held hectic talks with Canadian PM Stephen Harper and addressed a 8,000-strong audience of Indo-Canadians at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum. It was an event similar to the PM’s Madison Square Garden event in the US.
1. Both countries signed an agreement for long-term supply of Uranium to India.
2. Harper and Modi agreed to increase collaboration in the fields of energy efficiency, oil and gas development and renewable energy.
3. India and Canada looked forward to an investment of CAD $2.5 million in five health innovations in India by Grand Challenges Canada and its Indian partner – the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
4. Air Canada has said that it plans to have direct flights from Toronto to New Delhi — an outcome that we believe came after the PM’s bilateral visit.
5. Both leaders vowed to deepen cooperation in fighting against terrorism and violent extremism.
6. 13 MoUs were signed between the National Skill Development Council of India and 13 Canadian colleges, institutes, and Sector Skills Councils in the fields such as agriculture, automotive, aviation, construction, healthcare, hydrocarbons and IT.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)