Delhi: As he leaves for Belgium as part of a three-nation tour on Tuesday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the "resilience and spirit" of its people in the wake of the horrific Brussels bombings and said India stands "shoulder-to-shoulder" with them.
From Brussels, PM Modi will leave for Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit on March 31 and April 1 and from there he will travel to Saudi Arabia on a two-day visit with a focus on boosting energy and security cooperation.
In Brussels, he will attend the 13th India-EU Summit and in a pre-deparature statement, he said it will advance multifaceted engagement across a whole range of sectors and described the 28-member bloc as a "vital trading partner".
On Saudi Arabia, PM Modi said India's relations with the Gulf nation were "special" and that "robust" people-to-people ties constitute a key component of the bilateral engagement. "I plan to work with the Saudi leadership to expand and deepen our bilateral relations."
Following is the full text of PM's departure statement prior to his visit to Belgium, USA and Saudi Arabia:
“On 30th March, I will be in Brussels to meet with the Belgian Prime Minister Mr. Charles Michel. I would also be holding the 13th India-EU Summit with the EU leadership.
No words are enough to salute the resilience and spirit of the people of Belgium. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the wake of the horrific attacks in Brussels and share the grief of those who lost their loved ones.
Our relations with Belgium are deep rooted and have stood the test of time. Within the E.U., Belgium is India’s 2nd largest trading partner. My meeting with the Prime Minister aims to expand trade, investment and high technology partnership with this important E.U. member.
Along with Prime Minister Charles Michel, I would remote activate the India-Belgium ARIES (Aryabhatta Research Institute for Observational Sciences) Telescope.
The European Union is a vital trading partner and the biggest export destination for India. This Summit will advance our multifaceted engagement across a whole range of domains.
In Brussels, I would also be meeting with the Members of European Parliament (MEPs), Indologists, Belgian CEOs as well as a wide cross section of the Indian diaspora in Belgium. I would also interact with the Board Members of the Association of Diamond Traders in Belgium.
The same evening, I will address a Community Programme and interact with the Indian community.
After Belgium, I will be in Washington DC on 31st March to participate in the 4th Nuclear Security Summit, where several nations and global organisations would be represented.
The Summit would deliberate on the crucial issue of threat to nuclear security caused by nuclear terrorism. Leaders would discuss ways and measure through which to strengthen the global nuclear security architecture, especially to ensure that non-state actors do not get access to nuclear material.
On the sidelines of the Summit, I would meet with several world leaders to carry forward the agenda of bilateral cooperation with those nations.
I also look forward to my interaction with the scientists associated with LIGO project.
On 2nd and 3rd April, at the invitation of HM King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, I will be visiting Saudi Arabia.
India’s ties with Saudi Arabia are special. Robust people-to-people ties constitute a key component of our engagement. I plan to work with the Saudi leadership to expand and deepen our bilateral relations. Discussions on the regional situation would also be on the agenda.
Our economic ties are also expanding. Saudi Arabia is India’s 4th largest trading partner, and is also India’s largest crude oil supplier.
In addition to meeting with HM King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, I also look forward to my discussions with other important members of the Royal family.
We want the prominent Saudi businesses to partner with India’s development priorities. That would be one of the key objectives of the business event planned in Riyadh.
I will visit the Masmak Fortress, ‘L&T Workers’ Residential Complex and TCS All Women IT & ITES Center in Riyadh.”
(With PTI inputs)