Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Sunday discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade, defence and security, even as world leaders gathered for the G7 Summit in the French resort town of Biarritz.
PM Modi, who arrived in France on Sunday to attend the Summit as a special invitee, will speak on pressing global issues of environment, climate and digital transformation while also meeting world leaders. He arrived in Biarritz from Manama after concluding his three-nation tour to France, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
On the sidelines, PM Modi and US President Donald Trump are likely to discuss the situation in Kashmir, trade irritants between the countries, and other bilateral matters. Trump has said he will discuss with Modi the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and help ease tensions between India and Pakistan following the nullification of Article 370, which gave special status to the region.
Modi’s meeting with Johnson was the first after the British leader became the prime minister of his country last month — the third in fairly quick succession since Britain voted to leave the EU in June 2016 following on from David Cameron and Theresa May.
“PM Modi begins by congratulating PM Johnson on England’s spectacular win in the Third Test of the Ashes a short while ago. The two leaders are discussing ways to strengthen India-UK cooperation,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.
“PM @narendramodi had a good meeting with UK PM @BorisJohnson on margins of #G7 summit. Discussions focused on strengthening our bilateral ties going forward, inter alia, in trade & investment, defence & security, S&T and education sectors,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
The PM and United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres also held “fruitful discussions”. Earlier this month, Guterres urged India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum restraint” over the Kashmir issue.
A rare closed-door consultation on Kashmir by the Security Council ended without any outcome or statement from the powerful 15-nation UN organ, giving a snub to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China to internationalise the issue, which an overwhelming majority stressed is a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.
The meeting of Modi and Guterres came a day after Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi called the UN chief to apprise him about the “evolving and delicate situation” in Jammu and Kashmir.
India has categorically told the international community that the effective scrapping of Article 370 is an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality.
During the G7 Summit, which is being held in the picturesque seaside French town of Biarritz, the prime minister will address sessions on environment, climate, oceans and digital transformation.
Though India is not a member of the G7 grouping, Modi has been personally invited by French President Emmanuel Macron. The external affairs ministry said that the invitation was a “reflection of the personal chemistry” between the two leaders and also “recognition of India as a major economic power”.
The countries that are part of the G7 include the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the US.
Earlier in the day, PM Modi launched a $4.2-million redevelopment project of the 200-year-old Lord Sri Krishna temple in Manama and said it manifests the strong ties between India and Bahrain.
Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the key Gulf nation, offered prayers at the Shreenathji Temple in Manama, the oldest temple in the region, and also the ‘prasad’ that he bought with the RuPay card after launching it in the UAE on Saturday.
“Spent time at Bahrain’s Shreenathji Temple. This is among the oldest temples in the region and manifests the strong ties between India and Bahrain,” Modi tweeted and shared some of the blessed moments from the temple in his tweet.
Modi also greeted and interacted the Indian diaspora, who came to attend the event at the temple.
The $4.2 million redevelopment project will be on a piece of land measuring 16,500 square feet and the new four-floor structure covering 45,000 square feet will have an overall height of 30 metres. The heritage and the 200-year-old legacy of the temple will be highlighted in the redevelopment and the new iconic complex will house the sanctum sanctorum and prayer halls.
Aug 26, 2019 00:00 IST