HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

PM to visit Japan with lean 56-member team

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 27, 2014
First Published: 23:59 IST(27/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:10 IST(28/8/2014)

There won’t be any minister travelling with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his first bilateral visit outside the sub-continent to Japan from August 30 to September 3.

Ministers would now accompany the PM on his foreign trips only when absolutely necessary.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj traveled with him to Bhutan, and commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman accompanied him to Brazil.

Usually, ministers travel when there are important pacts to be signed or there are minister-specific events in a multilateral summit.

Going by the past, there has been a sizeable downsizing of the PM delegation on the VIP aircraft. For the Japan trip, a team of 56 members including 14 officers of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) would travel with Modi. It is a pruned delegation with just eight journalists being part of the trip as against a 34-member team of scribes earlier.

Modi’s delegation is almost half the 108-member team that former PM Manmohan Singh travelled with to Japan. Also, the principal secretary in the PMO Nripendra Misra is yet to accompany Modi in foreign trips. So far, the smallest delegation traveling with Modi was when he visited Nepal, 46 members.

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