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Saturday, 4 June 2016

Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam inaugurated in Herat

Beginning with Afghanistan, PM Modi inaugurated the Afghanistan-india Friendship Dam, earlier known as Salma Dam, in Herat province, along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. This Dam is expected to produce 42 MW of electricity and water nearly 75 ,000 hectares of farmland. Both the leaders will also hold talks on a range of issues including current situation in Afghanistan. "Looking forward to my visit
to Afghanistan tomorrow. I will join President Ashraf Ghani to inaugurate Afghanistan- India Friendship Dam in Herat. It is symbol of our friendship and would usher in hope, light up homes, nourish the fertile fields of Herat and bring prosperity to the people of the region," said the Prime Minister on Friday. rime Minister also said that he will exchange notes with "friend" Ghani on regional situation and "setting agenda" for bilateral cooperation in the coming period. From Afghanistan, PM Modi will travel to energy-rich Qatar on the same day. About the Qatar visit, Modi said, "This visit will nourish the historical bonds of friendship deeply rooted in people to people contacts, energy, trade and investment partnership." "I will interact with the Indian workers at the Workers' Camp and some of the members of over 6 lakh Indians who have nurtured our relations through their sweat and toil." The Prime Minister will also interact with business leaders in Qatar with an aim seek investment and realise the full potential of trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. In Qatar, the Prime Minister will hold talks with his counterpart Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on a host of issues which may include trade and security. From Qatar he will leave for a two day visit to Switzerland on Sunday. PM Modi is likely to seek support of Switzerland and Mexico for India's membership of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group as both these countries are key members of the elite grouping. The issue is likely to figure during Modi's meeting with Obama in Washington on 7th June. India has formally applied for membership of the NSG on 12th May . During his talks with the Swiss President Schneider- Ammann the Prime Minister is also likely to raise the issue of black money stashed by Indians in Swiss banks. From Switzerland, the Prime Minister travels to Washington on 6th June where he will have a packed schedule including an address to a joint session of the US Congress. He will be the fifth Indian Prime Minister to do so. Modi is visiting the US at the invitation of President Barack Obama. "In my meeting with the President on 7th June, we will seek to build upon the progress achieved in providing new vigour and momentum to our strategic partnership in diverse areas," he said. PM Modi will begin his US visit on 6th June by paying tributes at the Arlington National Cemetery. He will then meet heads of a number of American think tanks and will attend an event to repatriate Indian antiquity by the US. Modi will address the 40th AGM of the USIBC (US India Business Council) and meet US business leaders who he said have, over the past two years, "shown renewed confidence in India." "I will exchange views with US think-tanks and attend a ceremony marking the return of Indian antiques. During my visit to Arlington Cemetery I will lay wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider and Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial, in which we lost an Indian origin astronaut, Kalpana Chawla," he said. About his address at the Joint Meeting of the US Congress on 8th May, PM Modi said, "I thank Speaker Paul Ryan for inviting me to speak to Congressmen and Senators." The Prime Minister said he will also interact with members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, "many of whom have been valued friends of India and strong votaries of deepening India-USA ties." India and USA are natural partners, two vibrant democracies that celebrate their diversity and pluralism. Strong India-USA ties benefit not only our two nations but also the entire world," he said. About his visit to Switzerland,PM Modi described the country as India's key partner in Europe. "I will hold talks with President Schneider-Ammann to deepen our bilateral and multilateral cooperation. "In Geneva, I will meet prominent businesspersons. Our agenda will be to expand economic and investment ties. I will meet Indian scientists working at CERN. India takes pride in their contribution to exploring new frontiers of science in the service of humanity," he said. Asked at a press briefing on PM's visit whether the issue of black money will be raised by Modi during his talks with Swiss leaders, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said both the countries are in touch on the issue. "We are in touch with the Swiss government under the DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) mandate and we have had some discussions on this and we have a few planned in the near future. We have received support from the Swiss authorities on exchange of information on tax data between the two countries.
"We do hope to engage as early as possible in the automatic exchange of information with Switzerland and this has been conveyed to Swiss tax authorities," he said. On India's bid for NSG membership, Jaishankar said India has been eyeing membership of the premier group for many, many years and that it has made "lot of progress" on that. "I think we have made lot of progress and that has led us to formally apply for the NSG membership some days ago. We are engaged with all NSG members regarding this issue and Switzerland is definitely an important member and definitely, I would expect it to come up," he said. About his Qatar visit, Modi said he was looking forward to to meet Sheikh Tamim "whose landmark visit to India last year had ushered in a new momentum in our relations." The Prime Minister will arrive in Maxico from the US on June 8. He will have extensive talks with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on key bilateral issues including India's membership bid at the NSG. This will be the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister after 1986 when then PM Rajiv Gandhi had visited that country. Then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Mexico in 2012 to attend G 20 summit. The Prime Minister will leave for India on the evening of 8th June. "I look forward to meeting President Peña Nieto on June 8 during my visit to Mexico, a privileged partner in the Latin American region. President Peña Nieto has ushered in far reaching reforms. I look forward to sharing our experiences. This is the first Prime Ministerial bilateral visit to Mexico after 30 years. Though short, the visit has a substantial agenda to take our partnership to new heights," he said. Switzerland is India's fifth largest trading partner of India. The European country is also the 11th largest foreign investor in India. 

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