Transcending Friendships

Issue 04, 2019

Transcending Friendships

Patanjali Pundit |author

Issue 04, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s international visits have reaffirmed the government’s position on mutually beneficial international cooperation. We look atthe highlights of his recent visits

Indo-Bhutan ties: Furthering a Privileged Friendship

After a decisive victory in the general elections and assuming office on 16th May, the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi made a State visit to Bhutan on August 17-18, at the invitation of his Bhutanese counterpart, Dr Lotay Tshering. The Indian PM was greeted by the Bhutanese PM along with Cabinet members with a ceremonial Guard of Honour at Paro. The King and Queen of Bhutan also held a luncheon in honour of the Indian PM.


• Innauguration of the 720 MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric plant, the addition of which has taken the jointly created generation capacity of Bhutan over the 2000 MW mark

• Launch of the Indian RuPay cards in Bhutan to ease the need to carry cash by travellers, in addition to strengthening the Bhutanese economy. In the next phase, Bhutanese banks will issue RuPay Cards to further integrate the Indian and Bhutanese economies and undertake a special feasibility study for BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app in Bhutan for cashless transactions.

• MoUs were signed during the visit in various sectors including knowledge networks, educational and judicial institutions, among others.

• On the occasion of inauguration of the Ground Earth Station for the SAS (South Asia Satellite) in Bhutan built with assistance from ISRO, PM Modi offered Bhutan additional bandwidth for its requirements, thereby reaffirming Indian commitment to Bhutan’s holistic growth.

Three-Nation Tour


Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France for an official visit for a bilateral summit on August 22-23 in Paris and to participate in the G7 Summit held at Biarritz on August 25-26. During the G7 Summit, Prime Minister spoke at length in Sessions on environment, climate, and digital transformation and held various bilateral meetings with other participating nations.
During his bilateral visit, PM Modi held talks with the French President Emmanuel Macron and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. In a discussion with President Macron that lasted around an hour and a half, numerous bilateral and international issues were discussed including Ind0-French cooperation in the IndoPacific region, cyber-security, artificial intelligence, defence, and civil nuclear cooperation.
PM Modi also inaugurated the Memorial for the Indian victims of the Air India crashes at Nid D’Aigle before leaving for the second leg of his tour.

The Indian Prime Minister with Emmanuel Macron President of France during his visit to France in August

United Arab Emirates

PM Modi arrived in the UAE on August for the second leg of his three nation tour. He held bilateral talks with the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi atthe Royal Palace where he was earlier given a ceremonial welcome. The Indian PM ceremoniously launched the RuPay Card, for the first time in the Middle East. During his visit to the Emirates, Prime Minister Modi was awarded the Order of Zayed, the highest civil decoration of the UAE ‘in recognition of the distinguished leadership-for giving a big boost to bilateral relations between the two countries.’

PM Modi meets King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain at the Al Gudaibiya Palace in Manama, Bahrain on August 24


PM Modi arrived in Bahrain on August 25 as part of the third leg of his three-nation tour, thereby becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Indian PM was accorded a ceremonial welcome and held delegate level talks with his counterpart Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. During this visit an MoU was signed between ISRO and its Bahraini counterpart, ‘to assist in building the CubeSat, establishing ground station, data sharing and training.’

During the G7 Summit, PM Modi spoke at length during several sessions and
also held various bilateral meetings with the leaders of other participating nations


As the Chief Guest of the Eastern Economic Forum, PM Modi arrived in Russia on the morning September 4 for a 36 hour visit and took part in the 20th annual India-Russia Summit. Landing in Vladivostok, he became the first to Indian PM to visit the administrative centre of the Far Eastern Federal District in Russia. In a special gesture, the Russian President Vladimir Putin took the PM on a boat to the new shipyard at Zvezda. The two leaders spent more than two hours discussing the bilateral issues and India’s increasing commitment in the Russian Far-East as a springboard to the NorthEast Asian region.

PM Modi and Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia enjoying a light moment at the Zvezda Shipbuilding plant during his visit to Vladivostok in September

The Indian Prime Minister also held bilaterals with the three visiting dignitaries, the Prime Minister of Japan, the President of Mongolia and the Prime Minister of Malaysia before addressing the plenary session of the 5th Eastern Economic Forum. The Vladivostok visit holds significance as it is a testimony to Indo-Russian relationship reaching new heights of cooperation through trust and partnership.

Patanjali Pundit

A graduate of Columbia University and London School of Economics, Patanjali Pundit is a historian, writer and entrepreneur.
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