A five-year road map for reviving ties with European Union (EU), deeper energy and security ties with Saudi Arabia and discussions on nuclear security at a summit in Washington are part of the three-nation tour that Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins from Wednesday.
The PM’s first stop will be Brussels, where an Indian casualty was confirmed on Monday as among the 35 victims of purported Islamic State bombings.
“The attacks in Brussels, of course, it will be the starting point of the talks,” joint secretary (Europe West) Nandini Singla, told reporters.
The crux of the talks, however, will be a five-year roadmap for trade cooperation between India and the 28-nation European Union that had been strained after a dispute over Indian drug exports in 2012.
Modi will meet top businessmen, including a delegation of diamond traders, address the Indian diaspora in Brussels, meet Parliamentarians and a delegation of indologists separately.
Antwerp in Belgium is the world’s largest diamond trading where nearly 84% of the world’s rough diamonds passes. There is a sizeable presence of Indian traders in Antwerp.
From Brussels, Modi will leave for Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) on March 31 and April 1. He is set to make specific announcements and proposals on nuclear security, besides detailing steps India has taken. The summit is also likely to discuss ways to pre-empt nuclear terrorism.
The Prime Minister was earlier likely to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the summit but Sharif has pulled out in wake of an attack in Lahore where more than 70 people were killed on Sunday.
Modi will travel to Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on April 2 for a two-day visit at the invitation of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
The PM is likely to take up the issue of how Indian workers are treated in the kingdom during his talks with the Saudi leadership that will also touch upon cooperation in the areas of energy ties and counter-terrorism.