Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeps on travelling across the world in order to make healthy relations with our foreign partners. Likewise, dignitaries from foreign countries also come to India to join hands on various matters.
Besides this exchange of information and interests, certain gifts are also exchanged between the foreign leaders and PM Modi, that adds to the diplomatic camaraderie. It also known that the prime minister pays special attention to these exchanges which shows that he is a thoughtful and gracious guest.
While there are detailed information about the gifts that PM Modi receives from the foreign dignitaries, there is ambiguity about the price and number of the gifts that PM Modi gives to those dignitaries. Evidently, there is information available about only a few gifts that PM Modi entrusts to the global leaders.
Apparently, recently a RTI was filed to know what gifts has PM Modi presented, and the answer was provided by Ministry of Foreign Affairs after some time.
The ministry replied by saying that there is a set of rules and guidelines that decide the budget of the gifts that PM Modi presents to the foreign ministers. Furthermore, it was revealed that the gifts are bought from the budgetary grant.
It was said that publishing the information about the gifts presented to the foreign dignitaries may affect our relations with the foreign countries and may create problems to the national security. The information about the budget and gift will hamper the friendship between the countries and the motive to achieve peace will go all in vain.
In addition to this, under the Article 8(1) (A) of the RTI Act, the ministry requested to be exempted from answering the questions in order to protect the relationship of India with other countries.
Here is a list of certain gifts, information of which was released publicly:
1. Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump warmly welcomed PM Modi during his visit to the United States. There PM Narendra Modi bestowed him certain gifts that justified Indian culture and craftsmanship. The gifts included a handcrafted silver bracelet, special ‘chai’ from the Kangra Valley, handmade shawl from Jammu and Kashmir and a wooden chest from Hoshiarpur, Punjab.
2. Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth was presented with award winning Darjeeling tea from the Makaibari tea estate in West Bengal, along with the organic honey from Jammu & Kashmir.
3. Dr Hassan Rouhani
Iran President Dr Hassan Rouhani was gifted with specially commissioned reproduction of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib’s collection of Persian poetry, Khulliyat-e-Farsi-e-Ghalib, as also Persian translation of Ramayana by Sumair Chand.
4. Ban Ki-Moon
A huge painting of the Mahatma Gandhi was bestowed to the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon.
6. Benjamin Netanyahu
PM Modi gifted replicas of 2 sets of copper plates from Kerala that were believed to be inscribed in the 9th century to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during his trip to Israel.
7. David Cameron
United Kingdom’s former Premier was presented with specially handcrafted pair of bookends that were made from silver, marble and wood.
8. Saudi King Salman
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz was presented a gold-plated replica of Cheraman Juma Masjid from Kerala which was believed to be the first mosque in India by the Arab traders around 629 AD.
There are many other officials who were presented with special gifts, but there is no information available to the general public.