India, Greece link defence sectors

The Asian Age.  | Sridhar Kumaraswami

India, All India

Both nations agree to double trade by 2030

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis during the latter's ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. (PTI)

New Delhi: After talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis here on Wednesday that focused on “all aspects of strategic ties in the economic, political and security” spheres, the two countries decided to link their defence industries and agreed to continue with the goal of doubling trade by 2030.

They also decided to soon sign a migration and mobility agreement that will also enable young Indian professionals to work in Greece. Both leaders discussed cooperation in several areas, including defence and maritime security, cyber security, counter-terrorism, shipping, connectivity, agriculture, pharma, technology, innovation, medical devices, skill development, renewable energy, infrastructure and space. Both countries also agreed to work out an action plan to celebrate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties that falls next year.

In his remarks, Mr Modi hailed the two and half millennia-old ties between two “great and ancient civilisations” and commended Greece’s decision both to join the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative and participate in the India-Middle East-Europe (MEC) connectivity project. The Greek PM hailed the ties between the “world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy”, and described his country as India’s “gateway to Europe”. Expressing his eagerness to learn from the “Indian miracle in information technology”, the Greek PM hailed Mr Modi as a “visionary, principled leader and true friend”.

Foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra said later at a special MEA briefing that Mr Modi held talks both at the delegation level as well as restricted format with the Greek PM, which also included how Greece would participate in the IMEC connectivity corridor, including through ports and shipping that would include enabling provisions signed both between governments and in the private sector. The foreign secretary also made it clear in response to a query that the alignment of the IMEC had not changed despite the Gaza conflict. He also said the national security advisers of the two countries met (recently) and discussed security cooperation and the interests of the two nations in the Eastern Mediterranean and Indo-Pacific regions. The foreign secretary said Mr Modi and the Greek PM at their talks had discussed the situation in the Red Sea and the impact on shipping lanes as well as how these challenges in shipping can be mitigated.

In his remarks, Mr Modi said the Greek PM’s visit shows the strengthening of bilateral ties, elevated to a strategic partnership last year. He said that apart from bilateral ties, they had also discussed regional and global issues and flagged “dialogue and diplomacy” as the way to resolve conflicts raging in the world today. Mr Modi also said both countries had discussed the menace of terrorism. The Greek PM, in his remarks, said the two leaders had also discussed issues such as the Ukraine conflict, climate change and energy security.