The Big Picture – PM Narendra Modi’s Canadian and Europe visit: What’s on offer?
The Nine Day visit of the Indian Prime Minister to France, Germany and Canada is being watched with
great deal of interest across the world. Prime Minister Modi during last 11 months in his office has made
many visits abroad with focus being on east and pacific nations. This had led to an impression that India
was ignoring West European Countries. This visit is expected to erase that impression. The visit is now
being dubbed in some parts of Europe as India’s link west policy. Two of the most significant parts,
France and Germany, have been major parts which can offer India many things in several areas while
India can also offer some key requirements to them. This visit has also a lot of significance as this is for
the first time an Indian PM is visiting on a bilateral visit in more than four decades.
This tour is seen as is an occasion for multipurpose diplomacy to further India’s interests. It advances a
‘Link West’ agenda to complement the ‘Act East’ policy and presents India as a balanced player that is
strategically attentive in all geographic directions. Industrialised Western powers have tremendous
potential to assist India’s rising economic graph. ‘Make in India’ campaign is also garnering serious
foreign attention. West Europe is important from technological point of view too. The three-nation tour
is also said to be centered on the PM’s economic agenda of improving growth, boosting commerce and
promoting Indian manufacturing.
France and Germany are two of the biggest foreign investors in India. While in France – India’s top
defense supplier within the EU – the PM will economic and defense issues, especially the sale of 126
Dassault Rafale fighter jets to India and discussions will also be held on satellite with electronic
intelligence systems (ELINT) package which could help India boost its strategic capabilities. Germany is
India’s largest trading partner in Europe and more than 1,000 German companies operate in the South
Asian nation, employing hundreds of thousands of people and manufacturing for the fast-growing Indian
market as well as for exports.
During his maiden trip to Europe, the PM was also expected to visit Brussels, but the plan was shelved
after the European Union reportedly failed to respond to India’s proposal in time. Trade ties with the EU
are very important for the Indian export sector, with bilateral trade estimated at 73 billion euros in the
2013-14 financial year.