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Welcome thrust on trade in Modi’s foreign visits...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s record in external affairs has been both inspiring and exemplary.

Visiting leaders from developed countries always focus on economic issues. Whether from the US, the UK or Germany, these leaders endeavour to look at opportunities for trade and investments. Indian leaders traditionally have been expressing pious sentiments on international peace, culture, friendship et al and rarely on business.

Economist Manmohan Singh made a beginning in signing several agreements in his meeting with President Bush in July 2005 focusing on cooperation in science, higher education and nuclear power. He continued with this in other forums like BRICS, IBSA, etc.  Narendra Modi expanded this manifold. In his visits to several countries he has been focusing sharply on issues like his concluding military aircraft purchase and firming up nuclear power cooperation in France and getting a commitment from Canada on nuclear fuel supplies along with investments for five years.

Right from the beginning, Modi has been attempting to build better relations with neighbours evidenced by his inviting the heads of SAARC countries for his swearing-in ceremony. More tangible work seems to have been done in his visits to Myanmar and Bangladesh. The historic agreement with Bangladesh has great promise of vastly improving trade and investments. He had attempted this earlier with Sri Lanka. Befitting the stature of India as an economy of size, Modi has also been announcing handsome development aid to the developing countries he has been visiting.

The very fact of a prime minister visiting many of these, perhaps for the first time, or after several years, should help win friends across the globe. This should also help India regain its leadership role in the United Nations and also win her the much deserved seat in the Security Council as a permanent member.


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