Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for a five-nation tour on Saturday during which he will inaugurate a dam in Afghanistan, put forward India’s case to become a member in the nuclear suppliers group with countries and seek greater investments for various sectors in India.
Modi will also address the joint session of US Congress during his trip which includes Qatar, the fourth country after the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the PM is visiting in the Gulf, a region home to 8 million Indians, since he became PM.
Modi, during his visit to Afghanistan, will inaugurate the Salma dam, rechristened India—Afghanistan friendship dam, along with Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani in the Heart province on June 4. India’s entry into the nuclear suppliers group (NSG) is an issue that is expected to figure in Modi’s discussions with leaders of US, Switzerland and Mexico.
India expects the US to extend its cooperation in getting some hold-out countries to turn around to support India’s membership. It is an uphill task as many countries in the 48-member NSG would like India to sign the non-proliferation treaty before getting a membership to the club.
China has come in the way of India’s membership to the club, which works on the principle of consensus. Foreign secretary S Jaishankar said India seeking entry into NSG should be seen differently from a non-proliferation treaty. “NSG is a regime. It is a flexible arrangement among states, quite different from NPT, which is a treaty…. The objectives of the two are different. I don’t confuse apples for oranges.” “We have made a lot of progress on the issue of membership to the NSG”, he said.
In Switzerland, Modi will talk about measures to strengthen the mechanism to deal with black money. “We are in touch with the Swiss government under the DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) mandate and we have had some discussions on this and we have a few planned in the near future. We have received support from the Swiss authorities on exchange of information on tax data between the two countries”, the foreign secretary said.