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PM will embark on 5-nation trip tomorrow


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi sets off tomorrow on a five-nation visit to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the US and Mexico during which the focus will be to broaden bilateral trade, energy and security cooperation and push for India’s bid to become a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

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 June 7. India has formally applied for membership of the NSG on May 12.

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.

The Prime Minister will first travel to Afghanistan where he will inaugurate the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, earlier known as Salma Dam, in Herat province, along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. 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.

Modi said he will exchange notes with “friend” Ghani on regional situation and “setting agenda” for bilateral cooperation in the coming period.

From Afghanistan, Modi will travel to energy-rich Qatar tomorrow itself and from there he will leave for a two day visit to Switzerland on Sunday.

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. .

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