On way back from Brics Summit in South Africa, Modi skeds a quick visit to Greece | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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On way back from Brics Summit in South Africa, Modi skeds a quick visit to Greece

Aug 18, 2023 10:53 PM IST

There is no official word from the Indian side whether the Chinese president will be among the leaders with whom PM Modi will hold talks on the sidelines of Brics Summit in South Africa

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make two foreign trips ahead of the G20 Summit that will take him to South Africa, Greece and Indonesia to participate in two regional summits and to revitalise relations between New Delhi and Athens.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will first travel to South Africa during August 22-24 to attend the Brics Summit andmake an official visit to Greece on August 25 on way back (AFP File Photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will first travel to South Africa during August 22-24 to attend the Brics Summit andmake an official visit to Greece on August 25 on way back (AFP File Photo)

Modi will first travel to South Africa during August 22-24 to attend the Brics (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit in Johannesburg. The visit is being closely watched in diplomatic circles for both a planned expansion of the Brics grouping and the possibility of a bilateral meeting between PM Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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On the way back from South Africa, Modi will make an official visit to Greece on August 25 at the invitation of his counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis. This will be the first visit to Athens by an Indian premier in 40 years, and the two countries are expected to upgrade their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership during the trip, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Immediately ahead of the G20 Summit to be hosted by India during September 9-10, Modi is expected to travel to Indonesia during September 6-7 to participate in the India-Asean and East Asia Summit, the people said.

In Johannesburg, Modi will join the leaders of Brazil, China and South Africa for the 15th Brics Summit. Russian President Vladimir Putin will join the meeting virtually while the Russian delegation will be led by foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

This will also be the first in-person Brics Summit since 2019, and the meeting will be an opportunity to “review progress of the initiatives launched by the grouping and identify future areas of activity”, the external affairs ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Modi will also participate in a special event with the theme “Brics – Africa outreach and Brics plus dialogue”. This is being organised after the Brics Summit and will include dozens of countries, mostly from the African continent, invited by South Africa.

While in South Africa, Modi will hold bilateral meetings with “some of the leaders present in Johannesburg”, the external affairs ministry said without giving details. There was no official word from the Indian side whether the Chinese president will be among the leaders with whom Modi will hold talks.

Speculation about a Modi-Xi meeting has grown following a series of high-level contacts between India and China in recent weeks. Both National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and external affairs minister S Jaishankar have met top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi, who is currently the foreign minister, on the margins of multilateral gatherings in recent weeks.

The joint statement issued after the latest meeting between Indian and Chinese military commanders on the standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has also fuelled speculation about a Modi-Xi meeting in Johannesburg. The statement, issued after the talks held during August 13-14, had described the discussions as positive and constructive.

During the official visit to Greece, Modi will hold talks with Mitsotakis on ways to further deepen the relationship. He will interact with business leaders from both countries and with the Indian community in Greece.

“India and Greece enjoy civilisational ties, which have strengthened in recent years through cooperation in areas like maritime transport, defence, trade and investments and people-to-people ties,” the external affairs ministry said.

The people said India and Greece are expected to elevate their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership during the visit.

Then prime minister Indira Gandhi visited Greece in September 1983. Former Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou visited India three times – in November 1984 for Indira Gandhi’s funeral, in January 1985 for a summit on nuclear disarmament, and in January 1986 as the chief guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations.

Minister of state for external affairs Meenakashi Lekhi visited Greece in January 2023, when the two sides discussed ways to expand relations in trade, economy, culture, people-to-people contacts and migration and mobility.

Modi is expected to visit Indonesia in early September to attend the India-Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and East Asia Summits in Jakarta. Modi’s meetings during this visit are expected to focus on ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, including freedom of navigation and respect for sovereignty, the people said.

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