Featured Article 23 Sep 2015 The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, has described the visit of the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, as “an honour for Ireland”. PM Modi will make a short visit to Ireland on Wednesday 23 September 2015 and meet with the Taoiseach, Minister Flanagan, and other Government Ministers at Government Buildings. Discussions will cover opportunities to strengthen trade and investment links, and cooperation in education.Minister Flanagan said:“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.“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.“Despite the geographic distance between us, our histories are entwined, with strong historical links between the Independence movements in both our countries. Our people to people links remain strong to this day. The Indian community makes an enormous contribution across Irish society from small family businesses to the IT sector and particularly in health care across the country.“Both our countries are committed members of the United Nations. India and Ireland both share a proud tradition of promoting peace and security through our participation in UN peacekeeping efforts. There has been excellent cooperation over many decades during these often difficult missions and particularly at the current UNDOF mission along the Golan Heights.“There is much potential that remains untapped, and I welcome visits such as this to explore how better we can work together with India on strengthening our bilateral ties and on cooperating on issues on the international stage.”At the meeting with PM Modi, there will also be discussion of international issues including sustainable development. Prime Minister Modi will be attending the UN Sustainable Development summit in New York later this week where UN member states will formally adopt 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Ireland along with Kenya played a key role leading up to summit as co-facilitators of the complex negotiations.Following the meeting at Government Buildings, Prime Minister Modi will meet with members of the Indian community living in Ireland.This is a very important visit in terms of the development of the bilateral relationship between Ireland and India. A visit to Ireland is highly significant for our visibility in a high-growth market. To date the only EU member States visited by PM Modi since taking office in 2014 have been Germany and France.As part of the strengthening of the relationship, Ireland has in recent years developed a strong presence in India. Enterprise Ireland has been present in India since 2006. The IDA opened an office in Mumbai in 2008. Tourism Ireland is represented by a locally contracted agent based in Mumbai. Bord Bia and Ornua have appointed locally-recruited representatives to the embassy in Delhi.Total Merchandise Trade between India and Ireland for 2014 was valued at €650m; exports were valued at €248m; Imports at €402m. Total trade in services in 2013 was worth €1,814; (exports €1520m; imports €294m).There are approximately 400 Irish citizens living in India on a long term basis and an increasing number visiting for short periods on business. According to Census 2011, there are 17,856 Indian nationals living in IrelandKerry Group, CRH and PM Group are amongst the most successful Irish businesses in India.