Senior ministers of the Narendra Modi government will travel to 68 countries in what is seen a big outreach programme by the NDA government.
These countries are the ones not visited by a senior Indian minister ever or at least in the past few decades.
“Cabinet ministers and ministers of state with independent charge have been asked to travel to these countries. The Prime Minister wants India to develop a bond with these nations,” a Union minister said. The exercise has to be completed by December.
Senior most among those travelling is home minister Rajnath Singh, who will travel to Hungary.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad left for Estonia and Latvia on Saturday. Parliamentary minister Ananth Kumar will be heading to Tongo, while BJP ally Lok Janshakti Party leader and food minister Ram Vilas Paswan has been asked to travel to Mauritius. Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh will go to Surinam.
Noting that by the end of 2016, the government will not leave any country where Indian ministers have not gone, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, in letters to the ministers, said her ministry has identified 68 nations to be visited.
She also conveyed that all the interactions in the visiting countries will be arranged by the respective ambassadors and, in case a minister was interested in visiting certain places in those countries, their itinerary will be made accordingly.
The aim of the visits, which are part of the government’s massive outreach programme, is to enhance bilateral ties and explore areas of cooperation, official sources said.