After cuddling up to Putin

India’s Prime Minister Modi in Vienna – what he plans to do here

09.07.2024 10:45

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Austria. In Vienna, talks are planned with Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), a meeting with Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen and a meeting with leading Austrian entrepreneurs. The talks will focus on bilateral economic relations and the war in Ukraine, as India maintains close relations with the Kremlin.

Modi arrives by plane on Tuesday from a two-day visit to Moscow. In the Russian capital, Modi held talks with President Vladimir Putin. Both countries are members of the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and others) as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

"Sounding out responsibility"
 Against the backdrop of the Hindu nationalist's good relationship with Putin, Nehammer wants to sound out "the joint responsibility for peace and stability in the world" at a private dinner on Tuesday evening with a view to
 the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, according to the Federal Chancellery.

Close friends: Modi and Putin (Bild: AFP)
Close friends: Modi and Putin

Nehammer said it was "important to talk to the BRICS states on an equal footing". They played "a special role in the Ukraine war. Putin listens to them", said the Chancellor. Nehammer is relying "very heavily on India" and wants to intensify economic relations with the world's most populous country. From an Austrian perspective, this is the second focus of the visit.

75th anniversary of bilateral relations
The main reason for Modi's visit is a historic date. The Republic of Austria and India established diplomatic relations in 1949 during the time of occupation. So there is also a 75th anniversary to celebrate.

The planned schedule:

  • Modi will be officially received with military honors on Wednesday morning. This will be followed by a working meeting between the two heads of government in the Federal Chancellery, followed by press statements.
  • According to the schedule, Modi will then meet Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen in the Hofburg at 2 pm. For the head of state, "the intensification of bilateral relations, particularly in the areas of business and technology" is also a priority.
  • Between the meetings with Nehammer and Van der Bellen in the Hofburg, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKÖ) is organizing a meeting between Modi and Austrian entrepreneurs as well as the delegation from India.
  • It has also been reported that Modi will meet Indians living in Austria and make representations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and UNIDO, which is responsible for industrial development.

Rare visit from India
The last visit at head of government level to date took place in 1983, when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi paid her respects to the newly appointed Federal Chancellor Fred Sinowatz - Bruno Kreisky had resigned shortly beforehand after 13 years in office, as the SPÖ had lost its absolute majority.

Her father and predecessor Jawaharlal Nehru had previously been a guest of the federal government under Julius Raab in 1955. Modi will arrive directly from Moscow.

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