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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, October 23, 2018

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Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi welcomed to Dublin

State visit by an Indian prime minister in 60 years

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DUBLIN, Ireland - The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, arrived in Ireland on Wednesday for the first state visit by an Indian prime minister in 60 years.

He was met at the airport by Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

Modi is in town for meetings with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan, Varadkar and other government ministers at Government Buildings.

"It is a great honour to welcome Prime Minister Modi to Ireland. I am conscious that Ireland is only the third EU Member State that PM Modi has chosen to visit since his election and I believe that this is significant in the context of strengthening and the development of the relationship between our two countries," Flanagan said Wednesday.

"Our busy embassy in New Delhi, works alongside our State agencies, to provide support to Irish companies active in India and Irish based companies seeking export opportunities in the world's ninth largest economy. India is predicted to be the world's fastest growing majority economy in 2015, with a projected growth rate of 7.2%. PM Modi's high level visit to Ireland will provide a significant boost to our visibility in this high growth market.," the foreign minister said.

The focus of the meeting between Modi and Kenny, Flanagan and other Irish members as well as members of the Indian delegation was on further strengthening the economic, trade and investment relationship between the two countries as well as building on recent progress in increasing education and tourism links.

"We also discussed that question of the reform of the United Nations, the Security Council. We recognise that changes that take place, on one hand should not diminish the opportunity of small countries in the Security Council and on the other hand should recognise the geopolitical realities of massive countries like India," Kenny said at a joint media interaction with Prime Minister Modi.

Kenny said that several issues of mutual interest to the two countries were discussed between him and Prime Minister Modi, including ways to take bilateral trade ties forward.

"The Prime Minister is very well versed on the challenges Ireland has faced; on the difficult choices that our government had to make. Now, that the economy is growing, we see opportunities for trade bilaterally in education, tourism, and the changes we made in the visa structure," he said.

"We see real opportunities for Irish skills, Irish IT, Irish innovation work with India in terms of many of the Prime Ministers, real passions, the cleaning of the Ganges, hygiene water where innovative Irish companies have made breakthroughs," he added.

He also said that the issue of non-recognition of medical internships was also discussed, and added that the matter would be taken up by Irish Health Minister Leo Varadkar when he visits India.

"Minister Sullivan is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and to do so will travel to India at an appropriate time. I have formally invited the Indian President to visit Ireland, and Prime Minister is happy to convey that," he said.

"We look forward to increase in number both of Indian students who come here and increasing number of Indian tourists," he added.

Following the meeting at Government Buildings, Prime Minister Modi was to meet with members of the Indian community living in Ireland.

Kenny and Modi will meet again later this week when they, along with other world leaders, attend the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

Modi left Dublin on Wednesday night for New York. While in the U.S. he will visit Silicon Valley which is home to Internet giants Google, Facebook and Apple, all of which have their major European headquarters based in Ireland.> BNN

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