Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have an unusually-long 10-day foreign trip starting November 11, 2014.
“Starting 11th November I would be travelling to Myanmar, Australia and Fiji to participate in various summits and bilateral meetings,” Modi said in a statement.
The Indian PM is to attend two key multilateral summits – ASEAN & East Asia Summits – in Myanmar.
“Our ties with South East Asia are deep rooted. Strengthening relations with ASEAN nations is an important part of our ‘Act East’ policy. ASEAN is central to our dream of an Asian century, where India will play a crucial role. I am sure the meetings there would be fruitful,” Modi noted in the statement.
After Myanmar, Modi will travel to Australia for the G-20 Summit.
“It is a great platform to showcase opportunities India has to offer to the world. I look forward to working with G-20 leaders on important issues concerning the world, particularly those relating to the global economy,” Modi said.
The Indian PM termed his Australia visit ‘special and historic’, because it will be the first bilateral visit to Australia by an Indian PM in 28 years.
“In Australia I will meet the country’s top leadership and am honoured to have been given an opportunity to address the Australian Parliament. I am also eagerly looking forward to interacting with the Indian community in Australia,
Modi said cricket is a shared passion of Australia and India. “Both Australia & India fought shoulder to shoulder during WW1. I would be visiting the War Memorial with PM Tony Abbott,” Modi added.
After Australia, Modi will have a short trip to Fiji, making him the first Indian PM to visit the pacific islands in three decades. The last time an Indian PM visited Fiji was in 1981, when the then Indian PM Indira Gandhi travelled there.
Briefing media persons in New Delhi, Suresh Prabhu, the Sherpa of the Prime Minister for the G-20 summit, said: “The Brisbane G20 is continuation of many things that have happened since 2008. But in a way, it is also an important milestone….”
He said economic issues will dominate the talks at the G20 summit. “How do you get more than 2% growth rate for the global economy… You can’t get 2% global growth if all the 20 countries don’t contribute. And it is a reality that there are some economies which are contracting, like Europe. I think India’s contribution to this 2% economic growth will be quite substantial and I think India continues to be rising rapidly and continues to progress economically and therefore, India would contribute significantly not only now but far more in the years to come. Because as you could see the Chinese economy is slowing down, our economic growth will be definitely be higher than theirs after a year and a half.”
During the G-20, Modi is likely to meet Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy, among others. A foreign ministry spokesperson said: “We have several requests for bilateral meetings… It is the Prime Minister’s intention to meet as many leaders as possible. So the focus is on those leaders who he has not been able to meet previously during his Prime Ministership so far. As of yet, we have not finalised the schedule of the bilateral meetings because as you are aware bilateral meetings can only be scheduled when both the leaders are free… We are working on this.”