New protocol could mean an overall reduction in PM meetings with visiting dignitaries

As cases of COVID-19 continued to rise, French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian’s scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to be called off as part of an effort to deal with the crisis, which could cast a cloud over other inbound and outbound visits. planned.

The new protocol could mean a general reduction in the Prime Minister’s meetings with visiting dignitaries, including Maldives Foreign Secretary Abdulla Shahid, who arrived on Wednesday for a two-day visit and the British Prime Minister’s next visit on the 26th. April, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. , which is due to arrive shortly thereafter.

Officials said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has now shortened his visit and limited his trips to Delhi, due to the crisis. Mr Johnson had canceled his earlier plans to visit India in January due to the pandemic outbreak in the UK at the time.

“We have been in close contact with the Indian government regarding the Prime Minister’s upcoming visit in light of the COVID situation in India. As a result of these discussions, the Prime Minister took the decision to reduce the duration of the visit, ”Mr Johnson’s spokesperson told reporters in London, adding that the British Prime Minister’s program would focus on government meetings and interaction with Indian business leaders. .

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also due to travel to Portugal for the EU-India summit on May 8 and visit France on the same trip, which was one of the reasons why Mr Drian’s appeal to the Prime Minister had been deemed important.

On Monday, a press release issued by the French Embassy indicated that Mr. Drian would meet Prime Minister Modi after his bilateral consultations with Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday. However, the meeting did not materialize on Tuesday or Wednesday, after which Mr Drian was due to leave for meetings in Bengaluru. An official familiar with the Prime Minister’s schedule said The Hindu that all of those meetings over the next few days have been called off as Mr. Modi needs to “focus on COVID-related meetings.”