NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening boarded his flight on his latest foreign tour. This time, the PM's tour will last five days and he will visit three European countries - Sweden, United Kingdom and Germany. The visit will put India's multilateral commitments front and centre, with PM Modi set to take part in the first India-Nordic Summit and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
PM Modi will hold bilateral talks with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and meet the country's monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf. Officials have said PM Modi will be received at the airport by PM Lofven, in an unprecedented gesture for Norway. Modi is the first Indian PM to visit Sweden since Rajiv Gandhi's visit in 1988.
PM Modi is also scheduled to attend the first India-Nordic Summit on April 17, which is an effort to raise relations with the five countries of the region - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Norway. The PMs of all five nations will attend, and Modi is expected to have bilateral talks with all of them on the sidelines of the summit.
The Nordic countries are leaders in green technologies and sustainable development, and the Ministry of External Affairs has said they could be ideal partners for the Modi government's flagship programmes like Swachh Bharat and Smart Cities.
PM Modi will then head to the United Kingdom, where he will meet Queen Elizabeth II and hold a bilateral meet with British PM Theresa May on April 18. He will also focus on meeting the heads of state of number of small island nations from across the globe who will attend the CHOGM, which is being held on April 19 and 20.
The Ministry of External Affairs has refused to make it clear if PM Modi is likely to have a bilateral meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who would also attend the CHOGM. However, officials have said India is likely to use the platform to push its message against terrorism and the support it receives.
On the way back from the UK, PM Modi is set to make a short stopover in Berlin, where he will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel.