Cloud over PM Modi’s public event in Brussels

NEW DELHI: The ghastly terror attacks in Brussels airport and metro station that killed over 30 people may have put a question mark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public event with the Indian diaspora in the Belgian capital on the evening of March 30.

Modi, following the 13th edition of Indo-EU Summit and official meetings with host Belgium on March 30, is scheduled to address a nearly 10,000-strong Indian diaspora on the same day.

This is scheduled to be a public event on the lines of Modi’s past such addresses in UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Dubai, China and Russia.

Following the attack less than ten days ahead of the Modi’s Belgium visit high ranking officials, here, however indicated that the government is in touch with both Indian Embassy in Brussels and Belgian Foreign Ministry to understand any threat for Modi’s public event and security preparations for such a show.

The event is scheduled at 6 PM local time on March 30. Officials indicated that a decision on whether to host a public event with the Indian diaspora or reduce it to a smaller closed door community function will be taken by Wednesday. Security alert has been issued across Europe including Belgium.

Last year Modi attended smaller Indian community functions in both France and Germany. This is Modi’s maiden trip to Brussels — headquarters of the EU. It is understood that the hosts would make strong security arrangements for Modi.

A key outcome document from the India-EU Summit will be expansion of counter-terror and security partnership. Nearly 20,000 people of Indian origin live in Belgium. There is a strong Gujarati community among the Indians in Belgium. They control 75% of the total business in diamond trading hub in Antwerp.