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Greece is India’s gateway to Europe, with large and important agreements in defense, business, shipping, and technology

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By Eleni Vasiliki Bampaliouta

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis made an official visit to India a while ago, noting that he is the first Greek Prime Minister to visit the country in 16 years. Mr. Mitsotakis and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, spoke of significant deepening of bilateral cooperation and a doubling of trade between Greece and India by 2030, during their joint statements after the meeting of the enlarged delegations of the two countries in New Delhi. The joint declaration between the two countries signed last August is in place, while the progress in deepening strategic cooperation in security, defense, and cybersecurity is also very important. It was emphasized that the economic corridor of India – Middle East – Europe has a future and is brighter, as “one only has to look at the map to see that Greece is India’s gateway to Europe”.

Additionally, Mr. Mitsotakis stated that “In order to achieve this, peace and stability must be achieved in the Middle East. We need to be more ambitious on trade too, doubling bilateral trade by 2030 – why not sooner.”

The Greek Prime Minister also pointed out that just as India is a pillar of stability in the wider Indo-Pacific Ocean region, Greece is a pillar of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, which brings the two countries closer together. He even added, among other things, that “we are focusing on renewable energy sources, shipping, infrastructure and we want to learn from the Indian miracle of IT. In Mr. Modi, I found a true friend and leader,” said the Prime Minister, noting that the relations between Greece and India will be strengthened due to the partnership agreement they signed. “I am sure that we will strengthen mobility in order to strengthen permanent immigration and combat trafficking,” added Mr. Mitsotakis.

Modi: “Extremely Satisfactory” Talks

The Indian Prime Minister referred, in his statements, to the visit he made to Athens last August and argued that the visit of Kyriakos Mitsotakis to India is an “amazing opportunity”. He even stated that today’s discussions were “extremely satisfactory,” underlining for his part that the goal is to double trade between the two countries by 2030. Mr. Modi also stated that there are new opportunities for cooperation in the field of defense as well, mobility, and migration. In addition, regarding the education sector, the Indian Prime Minister pointed out that special emphasis was placed on the interconnection of the universities of the two countries. He even added that it was decided to create a new action plan on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Key Areas for Bilateral Cooperation

The two leaders also discussed the goal of more systematic contact and interconnection between Greek and Indian businesses. In addition, special mention was made of strengthening cooperation in the fields of high technology, digitization, startups, as well as infrastructure and logistics centers, a sector in which, as underlined by Kyriakos Mitsotakis, there are great opportunities for Indian companies, due to the strategic position of Greece. Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Narendra Modi also exchanged views on cooperation in defense, education, and culture, especially on the protection of cultural monuments. Possibilities of cooperation in “green” energy and in the agricultural sector were also discussed, while the two leaders expressed their will to complete the bilateral Mobility Agreement in the near future. Indians attach great importance to the official visit of the Greek Prime Minister and the strengthening of bilateral relations as part of their strategy to upgrade economic relations overall with Europe.

Business Contacts

During the first day of the conference, where the official presentation of Greece and the economic and investment opportunities it offers took place, it is estimated that more than 300 meetings were held between the representatives of the Greek companies participating in the mission and their counterparts from India, and signed memoranda of cooperation between Joist Innovation Park, the Innovation Park operating in Larissa, with Adani University.

“Our countries have a long history of cooperation and friendship. And as they are people of the sea, we recognize the need to strengthen our cooperation. “Greece can become a European gateway for India,” stressed, among other things, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, responsible for economic diplomacy, Mr. Costas Fragogiannis, during his speech on cooperation between the two sides in matters of shipping and the so-called “blue economy”, where the “GrECO islands” program was also presented.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.Photos are from the Greek Prime’s Minister press offic

Official Visit of the Head of the Greek Army (GEETHA) to India – A Military Cooperation Agreement was Signed

An official visit to India was made on April 11 by the head of the GEETHA, General Dimitrios Houpis, at the invitation of his counterpart, General Anil Chauhan. The two leaders, in their meeting, had the opportunity to discuss issues of common interest, which included, among others, the emerging situation at the regional and international level, as well as the emerging security challenges as a result of the prevailing foci of instability around the globe.

The Air Force chief also met Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, as well as Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, with whom they discussed operational issues, emphasizing at the same time the special value of the military cooperation of the two countries. In the context of the visit of the head of the Greek Armed Forces, the Greece-India military cooperation program was signed for the first time, which includes a number of activities that will be carried out in both countries, which are expected to strengthen military cooperation and excellent relations between them, the announcement added.

The GEETHA leader laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in New Delhi, while he had the opportunity for a private meeting with the Greek ambassador to India, Aliki Koutsomitopoulou, with whom they discussed international developments in the wider region, as well as the relations between two countries. India has friendly and cordial relations with Greece and recognizes the historical contribution of our country to world culture, while their military cooperation will be in the common interest of the two countries.

The India-Greece partnership could be a win-win situation for both countries, especially Greece, which will have a new powerful ally like India to counter the Turkey-Pakistan alliance in the Aegean and the SE Mediterranean. The conduct of joint air exercises between Greece and India would result in the familiarization of dealing with the F-16s from the Indian RAFALE, a fact very beneficial for the Indian pilots in order to deal with the “Pakistani” F-16s. Greece and India can collaborate on drone defense technologies to counter the drone threat posed by Turkey and Pakistan.

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