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Narendra Modi in South Africa

While the popular PM, Narendra Modi embarked on a record number of foreign visits in 2015 across continents to 26 countries, this July 2016 South Africa will be his next stop most likely to coincide with the Brics Summit.

NaMo’s main aim is to push Delhi’s partnership with the African continent.

President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Narendra Modi to visit Africa to boost socio-economic ties.

India would see him travelling far and wide but to lesser number of countries. The PM, who has brought a personal touch to diplomacy and at the same time engaged the Indian diaspora live never before, begins his 2016 foreign visits with USA end-March.  It has been learnt that the PM might travel in July, and will be connecting with the Indian diaspora in some of these countries, many of whom have migrated from Gujarat in the past.

Given given the large Indian diaspora in South Africa, Mr. Modi is likely to address a major public event of People of Indian Origion (PIOs) during the trip to the country. “The Indian community in South Africa is historic in nature and has the necessary resources that they can quickly mobilise for a public event for Prime Minister Modi,” he said.

South Africa has been a partner of India under the BRICS platform and the visit to Johannesburg is likely to provide an important dialogue to the run up to the BRICS summit to be held in Goa later this year.

Besides the below mentioned countries there are speculations that Modi might also travel to Iran as the international sanctions get relieved.  The foreign trips apart, Modi will host the French President for the Republic Day celebrations in January, Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit likely in July, Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan and Russian President Vladimir Putin for the annual Summit.

While foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had travelled to few African nations, including South Africa and Egypt since May 2014, she will make maiden trips to Africa, a continent that will not only play a key role in Delhi’s UNSC membership ambitions but also in its fight against terror, piracy and stability in the Indian Ocean besides being the destination for natural resources and outward investments.

Even as Delhi is expanding its economic assistance across African nations and the continent accounts for 50% of the total Line of Credit extended by India, defense and security partnerships are no longer taboo.

“Some of these big visits by Indian leaders will see firming up of defence programmes including training and exchange of military personnel. Today, there is less hesitation on India’s part to involve itself in defence matters and partnerships in Africa as civil wars are on the decline in the continent,” a source noted.

It may be recalled that countries where the President, Vice President and the PM are planning to visit had their leaders among others who were present at the third edition of India-Africa summit here last October when Modi announced a fresh Line of Credit (LoC) of $10 bn for the continent.

The Export Import Bank of India had earlier extended 140 LoCs covering 41 African countries, amounting to credit commitment of $ 7.23 billion. Some of the major sectors covered under LoC are Power, Sugar, Agriculture, Roads & Transport and Engineering.

Where In The World Is NaMo? Here’s his travel itinerary of countries he is visiting.

CHINA: China hosts G-20 Summit in 2016 before the baton passes on to India in 2017. This will be Modi’s second trip to China as PM and will also provide a chance to meet other world leaders. The summit is expected in November.

USA: Modi to begin his foreign trips in 2016 from Washington where he will participate in the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) on Mar 31-Apr 1. India is expected to submit proposal for security of nuclear assets from non-state actors as it seeks membership of export control regimes like NSG & MTCR. He is also expected to meet Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif on sidelines of NSS. The PM may have a stopover for the pending India-EU Summit at Brussels either on his way to Washington or while returning to Delhi.

VENEZUELA: Speculations are rife that Modi might visit this oil rich Latin American country in July for NAM Summit, his fi rst presence at this Forum. If Modi visits Caracas he might also visit some other Latin American countries and also hold bilateral meetings with other NAM leaders.

LAOS: The landlocked Southeast country will host India-ASEAN and East Asia Summit also expected to take place in November. Besides Laos, the PM might also visit another key strategic partner for Delhi in the region during the same window of the visit.

JAPAN: The Indo-Japan annual summit is alternatively held in Delhi and Tokyo. 2016 is Japan’s turn to host the Summit and Modi and Abe are expected to expand their strategic partnership at the next Summit across the sectors of defence, nuclear energy, maritime security and investments.

PAKISTAN: The biggest visit of Modis tenure could be to Pakistan for the SAARC summit that will be held sometime between Sep-Nov 2016. While the PM made a stopover in Lahore on December 25, 2015 while on his way back from Kabul, the visit for the SAARC Summit will be critical for substantial decisions and take relations forward. The visit is expected to get maximum media attention. He is also expected to meet other South Asian leaders on the sidelines of the Summit.

Source Inputs: Facebook, Twitter, The Hindu, India Times