NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a six-nation visit next week, the largest in terms of the countries on a single trip by an Indian executive head. Modi will be visiting five Central Asian countries and Russia -- where the agenda will be economic, as well as strategic, with increasing commonality on counter-terrorism. In Russia, Modi will attend the summits of BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) in Ufa. India is confident of getting membership of the body, along with Pakistan and Iran.
While Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also attend the SCO Summit, there is still uncertainty if there will be a meeting on the sidelines -- it has been kept open-ended. “The schedule (of PM Modi’s bilateral meetings) is yet to be finalised. So I cannot say anything on this,” said External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup when asked at a news conference about the possibility of the meeting.
The Prime Minister’s visit will start with Uzbekistan on June 6 from where he will fly to Kazakhstan on July 7. He will then proceed to Russia on July 8, before leaving for Turkmenistan on July 10, Kyrgyzstan on July 11 and Tajikistan on July 12. Incidentally, he will be visiting five Islamic states during the month of Ramadan.
During the visit to five Central Asian nations, the first by an Indian Prime Minister to all of them together, the focus will be on enhancing trade, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry Navtej Sarna said.