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External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Sunday left for a seven-day tour of Italy, France, Luxembourg and Belgium, which is aimed at deepening India’s strategic engagement and trade ties with the four countries. In Brussels, Swaraj will meet the top leadership of the European Union during which both sides are likely to deliberate on removing hurdles for resumption of negotiations on the long-pending EU-India free trade pact.
The June 17-23 visit will provide an opportunity to hold in-depth discussions with the political leadership on a wide range of global, regional and bilateral issues and advance India’s growing strategic engagement with the European Union, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. Swaraj will travel to Italy for the first major political exchange between the two countries after Giuseppe Conte assumed charge as Italy’s PM. Swaraj will call on Conte and also meet her counterpart, Enzo Moavero Milanesi.
Swaraj will reach France on June 18. In Paris, she will meet her counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Swaraj’s Luxembourg visit, from June 19-20, will be the first ever by an Indian External Affairs minister, the MEA said. Swaraj will be calling on the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Henri Albert Gabriel Félix Marie Guillaume and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
Swaraj will visit Belgium from June 20-23. In Brussels, she will meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders. She will meet President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani.