limate change, Afghanistan dominate Modi’s meeting with Italian PM

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi

NEW DELHI/ROME:  In their first in-person meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Mario Draghi discussed the challenges posed by climate change and the need for the international community to work together, as well as the situation in Afghanistan.

During the meeting on Friday, Modi highlighted the transformative climate actions undertaken by India, and the concerns of developing countries about climate financing commitments of the developed world.

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The two leaders also exchanged views on recent global and regional developments, including in Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.

“They reiterated their desire for working closer together for furthering the India-EU multi-faceted cooperation,” said a release from the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi.

On the bilateral side, the two leaders reviewed developments since the India-Italy Virtual Summit in November 2020 and expressed satisfaction at the progress in implementation of the 2020-2025 Action Plan adopted at the virtual summit that set strategic goals in the political, economic, S&T and cultural spheres to be achieved in the next five years.

The Prime Ministers also reiterated their commitment to further expanding trade and investment linkages between the two countries particularly in textiles, food processing, automotive and renewable energy sectors.

“To provide fresh impetus to the bilateral cooperation in renewables and clean energy, India and Italy issued a Joint Statement announcing a aStrategic Partnership on Energy Transition’ and agreed to explore partnerships in areas such as large size green corridor projects, smart grids, energy storage solutions, gas transportation, integrated waste management (waste-to-wealth), development and deployment of green hydrogen and promotion of bio-fuels. India and Italy also signed a aStatement of Intent on Textiles Cooperation’ during the meeting,” the release said.

Earlier on Friday, Draghi offered a grand welcome to Modi amid military honours at the Palazzo Chigi courtyard.

Modi keeps up tryst with Mahatma

Hours after he landed in Rome on Friday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed to the famous Piazza Gandhi in the EUR district of the Italian capital to pay his tributes at the bronze bust of Mahatma Gandhi.

This is not the first time that Modi offered tributes to the Mahatma on the foreign soil. His foreign trips since 2014, when he became the Prime Minister, have been marked with such visits.

In September 2014, when he visited the US, he offered floral tributes to the Mahatma in Washington DC. The same year, when he travelled to Australia in November, he unveiled a statue of Gandhi at Brisbane. In a short speech on the occasion, Modi had said: “On October 2, 1869, it was not just a person who was born in Porbandar a but an era was born.”

In March 2015, during his Mauritius tour, he paid floral tributes to Bapu while in April 2015, he had unveiled a bust of Gandhi in Germany’s Hannover. In July, the same year, he unveiled a statue of Bapu in Bagtyarlyk Sports Complex in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and in the same month, unveiled a statue of Bapu at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

In November 2015, during his visit to the UK, PM Modi was accompanied by his then UK counterpart David Cameron to pay rich tributes to Bapu’s statue, right outside the House of Parliament.

Modi, during his visit to South Africa – where Gandhi had spent several years before returning to India – in July 2016, visited the places associated with him. He paid rich tributes to Bapu at Johannesburg as well as Sarvodaya in Phoenix Settlement, which was his residence.

In fact, the Prime Minister had also retraced Gandhi’s train journey in South Africa. He boarded a train from Pentrich Railway Station in Durban to Pietermaritzburg, recalling the 1893 incident when Gandhi was thrown out of the train compartment on account of his skin colour.

During his Kenya visit in July 2016, Modi visited the University of Nairobi, where he recalled Mahatma’s teachings and paid tributes. Next year, in July 2017, he and the Portuguese PM Antonio Costa, paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi in Lisbon.

In February 2019, PM Modi and South Korean President Moon Jae-in unveiled a bust of Gandhi at the Yonsei University in Seoul. Modi had then said that Bapu’s thoughts and ideals have the power to help them overcome the menace of terrorism and climate change – two challenges humanity faces in these times. — IANS

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