SOLID RELATIONSGreece and India Poised to Strengthen Ties Following PM Modi’s Visit to Athens

Athens, Greece — Greece and India are poised to strengthen their bilateral relations following the official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Athens, marking the first such visit by an Indian leader in four decades. The significance of the visit lies in the shared commitment to enhance trade, business, investment, and defense ties between the two nations.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (R) discuss the importance of strengthening the bilateral relations between their two nations.  | Credit: AP

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis emphasized the strategic importance of the relationship between Greece and India, describing Greece as the eastern gateway to Europe, offering a vital opportunity for India to engage with the European market. Mitsotakis stated that a primary goal is to double bilateral trade with India within the next four years. He underscored the broader scope of cooperation, including defense, tourism, culture, agriculture, and joint efforts against the consequences of climate change.

On his part, Narendra Modi conveyed his condolences for the lives lost in the Greek wildfires and highlighted the historical commercial and cultural relations that form the basis of the two countries’ ties. Modi outlined the synergy between India and Greece on various issues and articulated their decision to elevate their relationship to a strategic level. He emphasized cooperation in defense, security, infrastructure, and education, noting that they will strengthen military relations and defense industries.

Modi highlighted the substantial potential for doubling bilateral trade by 2030, indicating the possibilities for further economic and industrial collaboration. He also mentioned the forthcoming agreement on mobility and migration, along with the promotion of cultural and educational relations between institutions in the two countries.

The visit of Prime Minister Modi comes on the heels of the BRICS Summit in South Africa, reflecting India’s commitment to strengthening global partnerships. The visit holds the promise of enhancing trade ties on a commercial and economic basis, as well as exploring avenues for deeper collaboration in sectors such as technology, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, energy, tourism, shipping, mining, and food.

India’s growing presence in the Eastern Mediterranean aligns with its interests in securing sea routes connecting Europe and India. Both nations have demonstrated political trust, standing by each other in critical times, as seen in Greece’s support for India during sanctions and its alignment on issues such as Jammu and Kashmir. The visit is poised to deepen the bond between India and Greece, fostering a higher orbit of cooperation in strategic domains and strengthening their diplomatic ties.

Following their meeting in Athens, both the leaders of Greece and India issued a joint statement.

Greece-India joint statement (Athens, 25 August 2023)

1. At the invitation of Prime Minister H.E. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid an official visit to the Hellenic Republic on August 25, 2023.

2. Prime Minister Mitsotakis and Prime Minister Modi acknowledged that both India and Greece share historical linkages and agreed that at a time when the global order is undergoing unprecedented changes, a re-energised approach to enhancing our bilateral relationship is required.

3. Both leaders held high level talks in a warm and friendly atmosphere. They noted the ongoing cooperation between the two sides and exchanged views on bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual interest.

4. As leaders of two ancient sea-faring nations with a long-standing maritime outlook, they shared their vision of a free, open, and rules-based Mediterranean Sea and Indo-Pacific in accordance with the law of the sea, in particular the provisions of the UNCLOS, and with full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom of navigation to the benefit of international peace, stability, and security.

5. Both Leaders noted that the EU and India have the largest democratic and free market space in the world and agreed that deepening EU-India relations would be mutually beneficial and have a positive regional and global impact. The Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction that both Greece and India have shown extraordinary economic resilience despite the challenges in their respective regions and have restored domestic economic growth. The two Prime Ministers expressed their strong support for the ongoing India-EU trade and investment negotiations as well as the early implementation of the India-EU Connectivity Partnership.

6. Building on the foundation of the long-standing warm and close relationship between their countries and peoples, the two leaders decided to upgrade Greek-Indian bilateral ties to the level of a “Strategic Partnership” and agreed to work to further expand bilateral cooperation in political, security and economic spheres. The two Prime Ministers also decided to take steps to further strengthen people-to-people ties between the two countries. Appreciating the increase in bilateral trade and economic engagement in recent years, the leaders also directed that both sides shall work to double bilateral trade by 2030.

7. Both leaders reiterated the need for further broadening and deepening bilateral engagements, in the field of defense, shipping, science and technology, cyber space, education, culture, tourism, and agriculture. They took note of the signing of the MOU on Cooperation in the field of griculture, including the establishment of a Hellenic-Indian Joint Sub-committee on agriculture for facilitating sectoral cooperation for mutual benefit. Both leaders directed their senior officials to ensure regular dialogue in the areas including political, economic, defense, security, and public diplomacy. They also agreed to encourage direct flights between Greece and India.

8. Taking into account the long-standing cultural exchanges between India and Greece, both leaders welcomed efforts to promote exchanges in all forms of art. They also agreed to encourage joint efforts in preserving and protecting ancient sites as well as strengthen cooperation within UNESCO.

9. Both leaders agreed that an early finalization of a Mobility and Migration Partnership Agreement (MMPA) would be mutually beneficial, facilitating in particular the free movement of workforce between the two countries.

10. The two leaders strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations whenever, wherever, and by whom-so-ever committed and the use of terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism.

11. Prime Minister Modi welcomed Greece into the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and looked forward to Greece’s membership of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

12. Welcoming India’s Presidency of the G20 Forum, Prime Minister Mitsotakis expressed confidence that under India’s leadership, the G20 will successfully advance its goals.

13. Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Mitsotakis for the gracious hospitality extended by the Government and the people of Greece during the visit. Prime Minister Modi extended an invitation to Prime Minister Mitsotakis to visit India.


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