INVITE: Laurent Fabius (left) with Narendra Modi in New Delhi
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi will travel to France in April for what would be the leader’s first trip to Europe since his election, his office said on Thursday (February 5).
Modi is “looking forward to his visit to France in April,” his office said in a statement, confirming an invitation from France’s top diplomat.
France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius earlier told reporters the Indian premier had been invited to a summit with president Francois Hollande “in the spring”.
“We will be extremely happy to welcome Mr Modi and that is one of the messages that I have come to pass on from the president,” said Fabius ahead of talks with Modi during a trip to New Delhi.
“We shall be very honoured to welcome him.”
The trip would be Modi’s first to Europe since his sweeping victory in general elections last May.
Modi was effectively blacklisted by the European Union for a decade in the aftermath of deadly communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, soon after he came to power as the state’s chief minister.
The EU and then the United States ended their boycott of Modi when it became clear he could be elected leader of the world’s largest democracy.
France and India have a strategic partnership and Fabius said the two leaders would have much to discuss in Paris, including nuclear energy and aviation technology on which the countries are already working closely.
“This will be an extremely important visit for us and India,” he said.
The exact dates for Modi’s visit will be announced later.