On two nation tour to Sweden, UK, Modi hopes to boost ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerges from his plane as he is welcomed on arrival at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm Sweden

Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerges from his plane as he is welcomed on arrival at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm Sweden

" I am confident that these visits to Sweden and United Kingdom will be useful in enhancing our engagement with these countries, " the PM said.

They are demanding answers from Prime Minister Modi about how and why BJP ministers in the Jammu and Kashmir government were standing in support of the rapists of Kathua, and why BJP MLA accused in gang rape case in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh was shielded for so long.

Modi and Lofven also travelled together in the same vehicle from the airport to the hotel, he said.

Sweden and the Nordic countries' courting of India is to give a boost to the bilateral trade which today stands at a total trade of around $1.9 billion in 2016-17 down from $2.17 billion, and hence both countries have set a lofty total trade target of $5 billion. Our partnership is based on democratic values and commitment to an open, inclusive and rule-based global order. On April 18, more then 50 women activists and academics plan to issue a letter opposing the alleged "rape culture" and "protection of rapists" under the Modi government.

However, some members of the Indian community have said that this time, there will be a "strong counter-protest" by pro-India groups to welcome Modi. This is the third exchange of prime ministerial visits after Modi's visit to Britain in November 2015 and British Prime Minister Theresa May's visit to India in November 2016, her first outside the European Union after assuming office. Prime Ministers of Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland would also be attending that Summit, being jointly organised by India and Sweden. He also asked the human rights organizations and as well as Kashmiris based in UK to largely participate in protest during the upcoming Modi's visit to the kingdom.

Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated a new rail line and a passenger train between Gudum and Bhanupratapur, bringing north Bastar region on railways' map. On Sunday, the PM said the visit would help deepen bilateral ties with both the countries.

The event, billed as the centrepiece of the "Living Bridge" theme of the India-UK bilateral visit, will involve PM Modi addressing questions from across the world which have already been received via social media and some via live video link. On April 19-20, he will attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. While returning from Britain on April 20, he will stop over in Germany where he will a meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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