Seeking to inject momentum in the country’s ‘Act East’ policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on a three-nation tour of Myanmar, Australia and Fiji today to attend key multilateral summits during which India is expected to push for steps to create more jobs and improve world economy.
During his 10-day foreign tour, Modi will undertake a bilateral visit for talks with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Canberra after the annual summit of the Group of 20 of the world’s biggest developed and emerging economies. The two-day G20 summit will be held in Brisbane from November 15.
Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Australia since Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.
Modi will travel to Fiji on a day-long visit on November 19 before returning home the next day. He will be the first Indian Premier to visit the south Pacific Island nation after a gap of 33 years, the first being Indira Gandhi in 1981.
The tour will begin in Myanmar capital Nay Pyi Taw, where Modi will attend the ASEAN-India summit and the East Asia Summit on November 12-13. From there, he will go to Brisbane for the G-20 summit and then proceed to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne during the course of his bilateral visit from November 16 to 18.
Modi will have talks with Aussie Premier Tony Abbott and address a joint sitting of Federal Parliament in Canberra. This will be the second meeting between the two leaders after Abbott visited India last month.
Abbott will host a reception for Modi at the iconic 161-year-old Melbourne Cricket Ground(MCG).
Modi is also due to address the Indian community at a reception at the Olympic park in Sydney.
“My Australia visit is both special & historic. It will be 1st bilateral visit to Australia by an Indian PM in 28 years,” Modi said in a recent tweet.
Briefing newsmen on Modi’s visit to Australia, Anil Wadhwa, Secretary(East) in the Ministry of External Affairs said today the Prime Minister’s trip will be a “landmark visit” and is aimed at “re-engaging” that country.
At the G20 summit, Modi is expected to voice his concerns over “jobless growth” in his interventions, stresssing that economic growth should also create employment.
“Focusing on transforming the quality of life of people, not just on issues like the health of the financial markets, is necessary to create employment-generating economic growth,” Modi had said when Abbott telephoned him last Friday to discuss the agenda for the Brisbane summit.
The G20 looks to meet a two per cent increase to its combined growth over five years through economic reform and infrastructure investment. It accounts for 80 per cent of world trade and 85 per cent of global economic production.
As India attempts to unearth black money stashed abroad, Modi is also expected to renew the country’s commitment to a global response to deal with cross border tax avoidance and evasion.
At the summit with Southeast asian nations and the East Asia summit in Myanmar capital Nay Pyi Taw, Modi is expected to pitch for improving connectivity in the region to give a boost to trade and people-to-people contact.