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PM Modi's United States, Egypt visit important milestone in India's diplomacy: Ashwini Vaishnaw

PM Modis United States, Egypt visit important milestone in Indias diplomacy: Ashwini Vaishnaw

New Delhi: Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visits to the US and Egypt an "important milestone" in India's diplomacy, Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday said the grand welcome that he received in the two countries was a recognition of his efforts to take the country to a "greater height" in geopolitics.

The US, which is an economic superpower and has a distinct identity in the world order, accepted India as "an equal partner" and entered into agreements under which the two countries will work together, Vaishnaw told a press conference at the BJP headquarters here.

"That is a major and a very big achievement," he added.

Prime Minister Modi returned to India on Sunday night after his six-day state visits to the US and Egypt.

Modi's US visit was marked by several major deals to boost cooperation in key areas such as defence, space, technology and trade.

In Egypt, the prime minister held talks with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and discussed ways to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries with a focus on improving trade and investments, energy ties and people-to-people cooperation. The two countries elevated their relationship to a "strategic partnership".

Egyptian President El-Sisi also conferred PM Modi with the 'Order of the Nile' award, the highest state honour of Egypt.

"The way our prime minister was accorded a grand welcome, his programmes were held and the bilateral decisions were taken... All that was recognition of the efforts that the prime minister has taken over the nine years of term to place India at a greater height in geopolitics," Vaishnaw said.

"It is an important milestone," he added.

Highlighting the outcomes of the bilateral talks between India and the US, Vaishnaw said be it collaboration in setting up of a semiconductor assembly and test plant in Gurarat, production of jet engines in India, quantum computing, or artificial intelligence "in all these areas the thought process has changed 180 degrees from the past".

He said there was a time when India used to be dependent on other countries for technology.

"Whenever anyone visited the US (in the past), more than half of the talks evolved around Kashmir and Pakistan. There used to be a different kind of narrative," he said.

"Today you see the primary focus of the prime minister's visit to the US remained on what India and the US, which have technological prowess, technological capabilities and strength of technological development, can do together. This is the fundamental change that has happened," he said

The railways minister said a "major change" in India's "global positioning" was witnessed during the prime minister's visit to the US and Egypt.

"Not only in the US but in Europe, Africa, South East Asia, everywhere Prime Minister Modi's visit is being discussed. People are considering this visit a milestone," he said.

Vaishnaw said India has earned a distinct identity in the world today due to Prime Minister Modi's "independent foreign policy" and his government's 'India first' approach in the decision making process.

"Modi ji has kept an independent foreign policy over the nine years, giving highest importance to national interest. All decisions are taken in national interest," he said.

"Be it an Islamic country or any other nation, all the countries are reposing trust in India and Modi's leadership today with clarity of purpose with which they engage with India," Vaishnaw added.

The minister termed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on semiconductor chain and innovation partnership between India and the US as "a significant step" and said the setting up of a semiconductor assembly and test facility in collaboration with Micron Technology Inc in Sanand city of Gujarat is expected to become operational and manufacture India's first semiconductor chip by the end of 2024.

"There was one prime minister who was more focused on Kennedy's relatives...Nehru. Today, focus is on technology. This is the difference in mindset," Vaishnaw charged.

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