Spain and India PMs meet to boost economic, security ties

At the beginning of their restricted meeting, PM Modi told Mr Putin he was happy to be able to visit his hometown as Prime Minister.

After holding talks with Rajoy, Modi met with the heads of top Spanish firms behind closed doors to encourage them to explore investment opportunities in India, the world s fastest-growing major economy.

Seven agreements were exchanged between the two countries, covering subjects such as energy, security and civil aviation. There are more than 40 Indian companies in Spain, in the fields of technology, pharmaceuticals, automotive and energy.

Two-way trade totalled 4.72 billion euros (S7.33 billion) in 2016, an 8.5 per cent increase over the previous year, of which Spanish exports made up almost 1.26 billion euros. He invited Spain to invest in India in sectors like Smart City, railways among others.

Joint Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry's Eurasia division G V Srinivas said "the work is in progress" and added "I do not want to steal the thunder of the meeting". Spain, the summer holiday destination of Europe, in a recent government report said that the Islamic State group "has been publishing in Spanish, which means an increase in the risk of its influence on radicals living in our country".

On his part, Rajoy said that bilateral ties would deepen following Modi's visit to Spain. An understanding between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be India's interest and Modi will do well to prompt them to bring it about.

The Prime Minister's Russian Federation visit comes in the backdrop of both nations celebrating 70th Anniversary of their diplomatic relation.

The Prime Minister also called on Spanish King Felipe VI.

Bosses from Chevron, Exxon and Boeing are among 144 USA firms at the event, the best attendance in years after Washington previously warned business leaders against attending due to political tensions.

Ahead of his arrival, Modi wrote an article in Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazetta in which he said India and Russia are "natural partners" in fighting terrorism and asserted that ties between the two nations have "withstood the test of time".

Some analysts believe Brexit may make it easier for the European Union to do such a deal as it will no longer have to take account of British concerns, such as those about granting visas to Indian workers and India's tariffs on Scotch whisky.

  • Julie Sanders