Hopes high as PM Modi embarks on five-nation tour

The tour will help in consolidating the progress made in economy, energy, environment, defence and security and to intensify cooperation for the future.

Published: 04th June 2016 09:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2016 09:21 AM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: With an objective to consolidate the progress made in diverse areas such as economy, energy, environment, defence and security and to intensify cooperation for the future, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a five-nation tour to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, United States and Mexico beginning this morning.

On the first leg of his visit, Prime Minister Modi will reach Herat in western part of Afghanistan in the afternoon, where he will inaugurate India-Afghan Friendship Dam earlier known as Salma Dam, along with President President Ashraf Ghani.

The Afghan-India Friendship Dam is a multipurpose project planned for generating 42 MW of power, irrigating 75000 hectares of land, water supply and other benefits to the people of Afghanistan.

Salma Dam is a landmark infrastructure project undertaken by the Indian Government on river Chist-e-Sharif, in Herat province of Afghanistan.

The project is executed and implemented by WAPCOS Ltd., a Government of India Undertaking under ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

The project is located 165 kilometres east of Herat town and connected with earthen road. Due to security reasons Indian engineers and technicians involved with the project have been reaching the site once in a month by helicopter service provided by Government of Afghanistan.

All equipment and material were transported from India to Bander-e-Abbas port of Iran via sea and then along 1200 km by road from there to Islam Kila border post at Iran-Afghanistan border and then further 300 km by road from the border post to the site.

The gross capacity of the dam is 633 Million M3. The height of the dam is 104.3 metre, length 540 metre and width at the bottom is 450 metre.

“Looking forward to my visit to Afghanistan tomorrow. I will join President Ashraf Ghani to inaugurate Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam in Herat. It is symbol of our friendship and would usher in hope, light up homes, nourish the fertile fields of Herat and bring prosperity to the people of the region,” the Prime Minister posted on Facebook.

Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said, “The Prime Minister will arrive in Doha, the capital of Qatar Saturday evening, where he will hold meeting with the Emir of Qatar to further strengthen bilateral relations. Jaishankar said apart from this, the Prime Minister will visit workers' camp and also hold meeting with business leaders.

“Look forward to meeting His Highness Sheikh Tamim whose landmark visit to India last year had ushered in a new momentum in our relations. I will have the honour to meet Father Emir who personally guided our relations for nearly two decades. This visit will nourish the historical bonds of friendship deeply rooted in people to people contacts, energy, trade and investment partnership,” said PM in the FB post.

“I will interact with the Indian workers at the Workers’ Camp and some of the members of over Six lakh Indians who have nurtured our relations through their sweat and toil. Will also speak to Qatar business leaders to realise the full potential of our trade and investment cooperation,” he added.

The Foreign Secretary said during his visit to Switzerland, the Prime Minister and President of the Swiss Confederation Johann Schneider-Ammann will hold discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

“In Geneva, I will meet prominent businesspersons. Our agenda will be to expand economic and investment ties. I will meet Indian scientists working at CERN. India takes pride in their contribution to exploring new frontiers of science in the service of humanity,” posted Prime Minister Modi.

Replying to a query on black money stashed in Swiss banks, Jaishankar said India has received support from the Swiss authorities on exchange of data and it hopes to engage with Switzerland in automatic exchange of information as early as possible.

In the United States, Prime Minister Modi will address a Joint Meeting of the US Congress, besides holding meeting with President Barack Obama. He will also hold meeting with US India Business Council with interact with Indian community.

“I will be reaching Washington DC on a bilateral visit in the evening of 6th June at the invitation of President Barack Obama. In my meeting with the President on 7th June, we will seek to build upon the progress achieved in providing new vigour and momentum to our strategic partnership in diverse areas.”

“Am looking forward to address the 40th AGM of the USIBC and meet US business leaders who have, over the past two years, shown renewed confidence in the India. I will exchange views with US think-tanks and attend a ceremony marking the return of Indian antiques. During my visit to Arlington Cemetery I will lay wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider and Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial, in which we lost an Indian origin astronaut, Kalpana Chawla,” he said while elaborating about his programmes in the U.S.

“On 8th June, I will address a Joint Meeting of the US Congress. I thank Speaker Paul Ryan for inviting me to speak to Congressmen and Senators. During my visit to the US Capitol, I will also interact with members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, many of whom have been valued friends of India and a strong votary of deepening India-USA ties,” said the Prime Minister.

Saying that India and the U.S. are natural partners, two vibrant democracies that celebrate their diversity and pluralism, the Prime Minister added: “Strong India-USA ties benefit not only our two nations but also the entire world.”

The Prime Minister will wind up his tour by visiting Mexico on 8th of this month and hold talks with leadership of that country. The focus of the visit will be on expanding economic cooperation.

“Look forward to meeting President Peña Nieto on June 8 during his visit to Mexico, a privileged partner in the Latin American region. President Peña Nieto has ushered in far reaching reforms. I look forward to sharing our experiences. This is the first Prime Ministerial bilateral visit to Mexico after 30 years. Though short, the visit has a substantial agenda to take our partnership to new heights,” the Prime Minister concluded.


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