In Parliament Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan provided details of the prime minister’s visits abroad since 2015, including their outcome, in a written reply
“For the 58 Countries visit , the total expenditure on these visits was ₹ 517.82 crore,” he said.
Asked whether the government is aware that Nepal has signed a number of transit and transportation treaties with China in the past few years to shrug off its dependence on India, he said New Delhi’s ties with Kathmandu stand on their own merit.
“Two thirds of Nepal’s global trade is with India and over 90 per cent of Nepal’s third country import-export transit is through India. India’s ties with Nepal stand on their own merit, and are independent of Nepal’s relations with third countries,” he said.
India’s ties with Nepal came under strain after the Himalayan nation came up with a new political map in May showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in Uttarakhand as its territories.
According to the details provided by Muraleedharan, the prime minister made five visits each to the US, Russia and China, and multiple trips to some other countries like Singapore, Germany, France, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.
Some of the visits the prime minister undertook were multi-nation trips while some were standalone bilateral visits.
Modi’s last trip was to Brazil on November 13-14 in 2019 where he attended a summit of influential grouping BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa).
Muraleedharan said Modi’s visits to the countries have enhanced their understanding of India’s perspectives on bilateral, regional and global issues.
He said the visits helped in strengthening India’s relations with the countries in a wide range of sectors including trade and investment, technology, defence collaboration and people-to-people contact.
“These, in turn, have contributed to India’s national development agenda to promote economic growth and well being of our people,” the minister said.
“India is now increasingly contributing to shaping the global agenda at the multilateral level including on climate change, trans-national crime and terrorism, cyber security and nuclear non-proliferation, and offering to the world its own unique initiatives for global issues like the International Solar Alliance,” he added.
To a separate question on Nepal, Muraleedharan said India’s age-old ties with the neighbouring country are “unique and special”, based on shared history, geography, culture, close people to people ties, mutual security and close economic linkages.