Answer by Vinit Kumar:
Well, Let's see.
Here are the list of countries that our PM Modi visited since he assumed charge as PM.
That's a total of 28 countries as of now that he have visited and 68 days spent abroad.
According to the documents accessed under the RTI Act reveal that PM's foreign trips cost around Rs. 37 crore in the first year (Jun 2014-Jun 2015) with Australia trip being the most expensive one (Around Rs. 9 Crore).
Now let's have a look at the achievements out of these trips one by one.
- Bhutan: The fact that the Prime Minister chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination assumes significance since China has lately intensified efforts to woo it and establish full- fledged diplomatic ties with Thimphu. Bhutan had been ignored by India for a while and this had resulted in tilting of Bhutan towards China. Bhutan is strategically important for India as it sits in the middle of our 4200 kms long border dispute with China.
Moreover, Bhutan is an amazing source of hydroelectric power. Modi laid foundation stone of the 600MW Kholongchu Hydro-electric project, a joint venture between India and Bhutan. India invested in construction of the parliament building in Bhutan. India will also assist Bhutan set up a digital library which will provide access to Bhutanese youth to two million books and periodicals.
Basically In the longer term, Modi aims to make India the dominant foreign investor across South Asia as well as main provider of infrastructure loans.
- Brazil:In this 6th BRICS Summit in Brazil, India was elected as first president of BRICS development bank which is officially called as New Development Bank. China was trying hard to get that seat.
- Japan: Japan trip was one of the most successful trips that Modi attended.
Japan has committed to doubling its current investment in India to $35 bn over the next 5 years. This will be primarily towards developing India's infrastructure and will involve Japanese firms.
Japan also pledged $500 mn towards the Public-Private Partnership Infrastructure Financing Project to India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited (IIFCL). Additionally $156 mn will also be provided for Guwahati Sewerage Project in Assam.
Japan will also aid in creating smart cities in India starting with Kyoto-Varanasi Project with financial, technical and operational assistance. Apart from that, both the countries also signed agreements on the development of Shinkansen system Bullet trains for India, starting with Mumbai-Ahmadabad corridor.
Finally Both countries will work towards industrial infrastructure development with the creation of Smart Community projects in six Indian states as part of Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) Project. The DMIC project will involve cooperation in developing power plants, assured water supply, high volume urban transport and skill development programmes for youth in regions along the corridor.
- Myanmar, Australia and Fiji: This was a tour focused on to increase the engagement of India to the rest of the world. Modi attended a total of 5 summits including the one with the leaders of Pacific Islands hosted in Fiji and met 38 world leaders. Apart from that he also met with wide range of business leaders as well. In a word, he was pitching for India and 'Make in India' for this entire tour. The whole world started/is starting to look at India with renewed respect and enthusiasm.
Most importantly he wants to make the diaspora an integral part of the nation's development journey and during all his trips he has channelized his efforts in this regard.
- Nepal: India showed very much interest in Nepal by assisting in their various projects financially and technically thus making India one step closer to become the dominant investor in Nepal.
The Line of Credit of $ 1 bn to Government of Nepal from EXIM bank will be used for hydropower, irrigation and infrastructural development projects.
Nepal also cleared two major Indian hydropower projects worth a combined $2.4 bn making the largest foreign investment scheme in the country at that time. India will get around 80% of the power out of the first project agreement 900 MW Arun-III Hydropower project to be built by SJVN and GoN.
PM also handed over one Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mark III (Fully developed and designed by Hindustan Aeronautics limited) to Nepal Army.
Modi also funded about Rs 750 crores ($112.4 mn) for construction of Nepal Police Academy and Medical facilities. These investments will provide a lot of returns for India.
- Secyhelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka: To deepen footprint in Indian Oceam this trip played a crucial role. India's role as the "net security provider" in the Indian Ocean region received a major boost when PM Modi visited these three Indian Ocean nations.
Apart from the strategic importance of the Indian ocean in enhancing the global trade route and our need to build relationships in that area to counter the Chinese aggression, Modi also achieved some solid outcomes of these visits.
In Seychelles, he unveiled the country's 1st six phase coastal surveillance radar project which is built with Indian cooperation and Made in India naval patrol vessel was also commissioned by him that will make the Ocean more safe and secure.
Most importantly, India bagged the rights to develop strategic assets in Agalega island of Mauritius and Assumption island of Seychelles under the guise of developing the island's infrastructure.
- Canada, Germany and France: The European visit proved to be successful too for India's point of view. Modi concentrated on attracting investment, with a strong pitch of the government's Make in India initiative while also reminding them about the increasing ease of doing business in India.
The french investment is set to increase by 5 folds as the airbus promised to increase the investment from 400 mn euros to 2 bn euros. Apart from deal for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets, the french side has started looking to set up a production centre for the Rafale aircraft and low cost executive jet in India, besides sharing vital aircraft technology for the indigenous Tejas project. In addition to that France will develop three smart cities in India and assist in Jaitapur nuclear power plant's localization and financial viability.
Canada agreed to supply 3000 metric tonnes of Uranium to India for nuclear power plants. The commercial agreements and announcements have a combined value of over 1.6 billion Canadian dollars worth of business for Canadian and Indian companies. The announcements cover a wide range of sectors, including aerospace and defense, education, energy, mining, infrastructure, sustainable technologies, information and communications technology.
In Germany, he mainly promoted the project Make in India with many CEOs & business leaders and assured them to make simpler laws to ease the business in India.
- South Korea, Mongolia and China:
Modi's China visit is going to bring about $22 bn investment. Indian and Chinese firms signed 21 agreements worth more than $22 bn in deals in areas ranging from telecom, steel, solar energy and films. India and China decided to set up a hotline between the military headquarters of the two countries.
Mongolia is a mineral rich country and apart from that there is a strategic importance of this relationship between Mongolia and India. In past China and Russia has eyed upon this country and had made their dominance in the region. Moreover India's financial support came over a time when Mongolia needed it most. It's economy depends largely on trade with China. Due to slow Chinese coal market the infrastructural development had been hit in Mongolia and with the Indian loan now, the Mongolian government could keep up the pace of gradual development. So I would say Mongolia visit was a psychological leverage over China in addition to increase in global trade.
South Korea and India focused to increase their bilateral trade from $17 bn in 2014 to the potential $40 bn by 2015. Taking a step forward South Korea decided to provide $10 bn to India for infrastructure, development of smart cities, railways and power generation. Also The Prime Minister is especially interested in developing closer ties with the shipbuilding industry, in particular those companies open to building ships in India. Knowing well that South Korea is a world leader in LNG transportation vessels, he has been encouraging India's private as well as state-run players to develop relations with Korea’s top shipbuilders such as Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo, Samsung, STX, Hanjin, Sundong and Hyundai Samho; and looking into the possibility of making a ship in India for LNG imports. If a deal comes through this might be seen as one of the concrete outcomes of the visit.
Ending more than 4 decades of wait, India and Bangladesh ratified the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement. By this agreement, the exchange of border enclaves between the two countries will be done. This historic agreement will contribute to a stable and peaceful boundary and create an environment conducive to enhanced bilateral cooperation. It will result in better management and coordination of the border and strengthen our ability to deal with smuggling, illegal activities and other trans-border crimes.
Also the pending agreement from almost 4 years about the use of Chittagong and Mongla ports by India was cleared and now the two ports are open to the bilateral trade between the two countries. Earlier the shipping cargo between the two countries had to take a longer route reaching ports in either country through Singapore or Malaysian ports. Also with this new port access India has got a new route to ship goods in its landlocked north-eastern states.
Modi also announced to open a $2 bn credit line to Bangladesh. In addition, SEZs will be set up in Bangladesh where Indian companies will produce goods and export to India.
- Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan):
Modi visited these 5 countries in central Asia during its trip to Russia (for BRICS and SCO Summits). He visited Uzbekistan and Kazakhastan before going to Russia for Summit and then visited Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on his way back. The purpose of this visit was to deepen strategic footprints and energy cooperation and PM Modi succeeded in that quite well. Here are the highlights of the trip:
Securing India's energy needs: Central Asia is resource rich. Kazakhstan is one of the biggest Uranium producers in the world (share of 38% in the total output of the mineral). Kazakhstan has increased its supply amount for the period 2015-19 (5000 Metric tonnes of Uranium) from 2009-2014 (2100 metric tonnes of Uranium). Also the possibility of transportation of oil and gas either through pipeline or as LNG from Kazakhstan to India is being explored.
In Turkmenistan India's engagement is the TAPI Project(Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Project). Turkmenistan has the World's fourth largest Natural Gas resources and would be a steady source of the resource for India.
Covering all dimensions of 'Make in India':
In the earlier trips to Europe, China, Japan or Korea, Modi focused on attracting foreign investments and manufacturing in India but in this trip he focused on the ease and improvement of freight connectivity with other countries.
Image Source: Wikipedia
Currently the route shown in red line greatly reduced the time and cost of moving freight between India and central Asia. Expansion of the corridor is the key objective of the Prime Minister as it could greatly improve trade connectivity with Central Asia. Modi discussed over Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan joining the INSTC. Modi also proposed that the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran rail link could become a linked corridor to the INSTC.
International Cooperation for Agriculture:
Not only PM Modi proposed the establishment of an Agricultural Research Centre, but he also signed an important agreement with Turkmenistan for long term sourcing of urea from there. A proposal to set up a Urea production facility in Turkmenistan was forwarded by Modi.
This was the first visit to the Gulf Arab country by an Indian Prime Minister in over three decades. India is UAE's second largest trade partner; the UAE is number three on the corresponding Indian list. Indian community almost make up 30% of the country's population.
The leaders in the UAE promised to invest $75 bn in India distributed through the establishment of UAE-India Infrastructure Fund. UAE also agreed to manufacture defense equipment in India.
Modi set up an e-migrant portal to help Indian migrant workers and an online platform 'MADAD' to assist the diaspora.
UAE will help India develop strategic petroleum reserves. Finally after gaining support from the Central Asian countries, Modi was also backed by UAE for a permanent seat for the UN Security Council.
This visit to the Silicon valley was focused on attracting top USA businessmen to invest and manufacture in India.
He met with all the top Silicon Valley CEOs from companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Tesla and many others. They all showed interest in setting up and expanding businesses in India.
Google will help India set up base for free Wi-Fi at 500 railway stations.
Microsoft will take low-cost broadband technology to some five lakh villages across the country.
Qualcomm said it will invest $150 mn for Indian Startups in the mobile and internet of everything ecosystem.
Foxconn which is Apple's largest manufacturer has decided to set up a manufacturing base in India and more.
Pitching about doing business in India and increasing bilateral trade continued as Modi interacted with PM of the UK, Mr. Cameron. Mr. Cameron also supported India for the permanent seat in UN security council. Later Modi interacted with the diaspora and showed them his goals for India. In a way this was a message for the whole world from India and this is a very good sign.
- Malaysia & Singapore:
Visit to Malaysia was mainly for the ASEAN and East Asia Summits besides holding talks with Malaysian counterparts. The talks with Malasyian government were focused mainly to deepen cooperation in security and defense sectors.
Visit to Singapore was focused on two main factors: Opening up trade with the wider Asia region and developing India's urban infrastructure. Singapore is already deeply involved in master planning of the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
With these outcomes of the foreign visits by PM Modi, I would say he is doing a great work. In 2015 India emerged as top FDI destination surpassing China and the US. In the first half of 2015 India attracted FDI of $31 billion compared to $28 bn and $27 bn of China and US respectively.
Like has said, Modi is a phenomenal 'return' on investment. He is on the right track and he is the best brand ambassador India has ever had. He not only connects with the diaspora all over the world but also with powerful leaders and businessmen across the world unlike other Prime Ministers of ours.
His charismatic leadership personality, hard working & positive attitude and faith in Indian community has led me to have FAITH in him and to see HOPE in him.
Let's watch Him taking India to greater heights.