New Delhi(PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave on Thursday on a nine-day tour of France, Germany and Canada with focus on inviting investments, particularly in infrastructure and defence sectors, besides cooperation in nuclear and a variety of other areas.
In the first leg of the tour, Modi will travel to France where economy, defence and energy will be high on the agenda of his talks with President Francois Hollande.
He will also have two back-to-back meetings with French business leaders, one focussing on cooperation in infrastructure and another on defence technology, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters here while briefing on the visit.
The government here has given top priority to infrastructure development and French companies have lot of expertise in this area, he said. Similarly, French companies have capabilities and experience in the field of defence.
India is hoping that French companies will participate in the 'Make in India' programme initiated by Modi. A highlight of the four-day stay in France will be a boat ride by Modi and Hollande, which is being described as 'naav pe charcha' (discussions on a boat). Earlier, Modi has earlier had 'chai pe charcha' (discussions over tea) with foreign leaders, including President Barack Obama during his visit here in January.
In France, the Prime Minister will also visit the World War-I memorial and pay tributes to about 10,000 Indians who lost their lives while fighting alongside France. He will also visit UNESCO headquarters, Airbus facility and French space agency office.
From France, Modi will travel to Germany where again business and technology will be the focus with intent of attracting participation in 'Make in India'. He will first visit the Hannover Fair where India is a partner country this year. About 400 Indian companies are participating in the fair which will see the presence of about 100-120 Indian CEOs besides about 3000 German delegates, Jaishankar said.
Modi, along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will inaugurate the 'India Pavilion' of the Fair and address an India-German business summit. He will also unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Hannover. Modi and Merkel will have detailed talks in Berlin with focus on how Germany can work with India in its developmental agenda.
The Prime Minister will visit a railway station in Berlin amid his government's agenda of modernising Railways. He will also visit Siemens facility there.
In the third and last leg of the tour, he will travel to Canada, marking the first standalone visit by an Indian Prime Minister in over 42 years. The last such visit took place in 1973. Modi will have talks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on a wide range of issues, including nuclear energy, trade and investment.
India sees Canada as an important partner in fulfilling its developmental needs and expects the visit to impart new vigour in the bilateral relations.
Modi will also address the Indian diaspora in a "Madison Square-like" event there. He will also visit a memorial set up for Air India crash victims in Toronto as also Laxmi Narayan Temple in Vancouver.