PM Modi Salutes Belgians’ Resilience Against Terrorism
At least 35 people were killed in twin blasts at the Zaventem airport and a metro station in Brussels on 22 March.
Ahead of embarking on a tour of Belgium, the US and Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday saluted the resilience of Belgians in light of the 22 March terror attacks in Brussels.
At least 35 people, including an Indian national, were killed in twin explosions at the Zaventem airport and one at a metro station in the Belgian capital.
During his stay in Brussels on Wednesday, Modi will attend a bilateral summit with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and also the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit.
No words are enough to salute the resilience and spirit of the people of Belgium. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them in the wake of the horrific attacks in Brussels and share the grief of those who lost their loved ones.Narendra Modi, Prime Minister
The prime minister said he and Michel would also remote activate the India-Belgium ARIES (Aryabhatta Research Institute for Observational Sciences) telescope at Devasthal near Nainital.
He said the EU was a vital trading partner and the biggest export destination for India. While in Brussels, Modi said he would also meet members of the European Parliament (MEPs), Indologists, Belgian CEOs as well as a cross section of the Indian diaspora in Belgium.
There are a large number of Indians in Belgium’s diamond trading hub, Antwerp. He is to also address a community programme and interact with the Indian community in Brussels. There are around 20,000 expatriate Indians in Belgium.
After Belgium, Modi will be in Washington DC on 31 March to participate in the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit, being hosted by US President Barack Obama.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is not attending the Nuclear Security Summit following the Lahore blast on Sunday that killed at least 70 people.
There had been wide speculations that the two prime ministers would meet in Washington on the sidelines of the summit.
It would have been their second meeting after Modi’s stop-over meet with Sharif in Lahore on 25 December last year.
Modi said he would meet several world leaders on the sidelines of the Washington summit “to carry forward the agenda of bilateral cooperation with those nations”.
On his way back, Modi will visit Saudi Arabia on 2 and 3 April at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. This will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to the Gulf kingdom after then prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit in 2010.
Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner and is also India’s largest crude oil supplier accounting for one-fifth of its crude oil imports. Modi said that he would also visit the Masmak Fortress, the L&T Workers’ Residential Complex and TCS All Women IT and ITeS Centre in Riyadh. There are nearly three million expatriate Indians in Saudi Arabia, many of whom are blue-collar workers.
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