Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not expected to make any foreign visits in the first four months of the coming year in order to focus on local issues ahead of the general elections, senior government officials familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.(PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not expected to make any foreign visits in the first four months of the coming year in order to focus on local issues ahead of the general elections, senior government officials familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.(PTI)

No foreign visit on cards as PM Narendra Modi focuses on 2019 polls

Modi, who has, according to the prime minister’s official website, made 48 foreign trips since June 2014, has no scheduled visits on his agenda for the next few months, the officials said.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 29, 2018 12:46 AM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not expected to make any foreign visits in the first four months of the coming year in order to focus on local issues ahead of the general elections, senior government officials familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.

To be sure, they added, there are no major multilateral events in the coming months – at least not any that require the PM’s participation. In the last year, Modi made 14 overseas visits.

In addition to his prime ministerial responsibilities, Modi is also the BJP’s most important campaigner. The party has faced its most significant losses in the past five years in the recent elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.

Modi will also participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in Varanasi during January 21-23.

The prime minister’s most recent foreign visits were to Japan in October, Singapore (for events related to the Asean Summit), the Maldives (for President Ibrahim Solih’s swearing-in) and Argentina (for the G20 Summit) in November.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in power in the three Hindi-heartland states.

Analysts have attributed the losses to the ongoing agrarian crisis and the lack of jobs for young people. The BJP’s arch rival, the Congress won all three states. Still, Modi’s aggressive campaigning in Rajasthan reduced the gap of his party’s loss and turned what seemed like a landslide win for the Congress a few months ago into a tight contest – an indication of how important he is to the party’s campaign.

The BJP-led NDA government has to address some of these issues, especially those related to the rural economy, in the run up to the Lok Sabha polls. The ruling alliance will also have to prepare itself to meet an alliance of opposition parties that is in the making.

All this, in addition to the business of governance, will occupy Modi in the coming months, the officials added.

Modi, who has, according to the prime minister’s official website, made 48 foreign trips since June 2014, has no scheduled visits on his agenda for the next few months, the officials said.

Though a visit to a South Asian country has been in the pipeline for some time, it is yet to be confirmed, one of them added.

Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, who will be in India during December 27-29 for his first foreign visit, is likely to extend an invitation to Modi to visit his country, another official said. India would have to respond positively to any such invitation, given its special relationship with Bhutan.

Modi will also participate in the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas celebrations in Varanasi during January 21-23.

The prime minister’s most recent foreign visits were to Japan in October, Singapore (for events related to the Asean Summit), the Maldives (for President Ibrahim Solih’s swearing-in) and Argentina (for the G20 Summit) in November.

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