India-Greece Relations

India-Greece Relations

News: Recently, The Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis was on a visit to India. This is the first visit by a Greek Prime Minister to India since 2008.

Background:
• India and Greece upgraded their bilateral engagement to a strategic partnership during the visit of PM Modi to Athens in August 2023.

Key outcomes of recent visit:
• Both India and Greece are historical maritime powers. The two PMs ‘’reinforced their commitment to a free, open, and rules-based Mediterranean Sea and Indo-Pacific in accordance with the international law of the sea as reflected in UNCLOS”.
• The two leaders agreed to a speedy conclusion of the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement (MMPA) between the two countries that would facilitate labour mobility between the two countries.
• In accordance with the objective of doubling bilateral trade by 2030, the Greek PM invited Indian businesses to seize the opportunities provided by the re-invigorated Greek economy and invest in Greece in ports, logistics, energy, and supply chains.
• The PMs referred to the importance of tourism as a key sector for continued economic growth. It was agreed to encourage the private sector to establish direct flights between Greece and India.
• It was decided that India and Greece would work to enhance cooperation in space, science, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and clean technologies or renewable energy.

India-Greece relations:

Historical
• India-Greece ancient interactions, started with Alexander’s campaign in the 4th century BCE.
• Indo-Greek communications facilitated cultural exchanges in the fields of art, sculpture and architecture. For example, Gandhara school and Greco-Buddhist art are examples of ancient cultural exchanges between India and Greece.

Political
• India has enjoyed long-standing, warm, and friendly relations with Greece, marked by consistent support for each other on issues of strategic national interest and core concern to them, such as Kashmir to India and Cyprus to Greece.
• Greece supported India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008. It supported New Delhi’s membership in the MTCR, WASSENAAR arrangements, and Australia Group in 2016, along with India’s candidature for several UN bodies.

Geo-strategic and geo-economic significance
• Greece with its Piraeus port in the Aegean Sea, offers an opportunity for India to become a key Player in the recently launched IMEC corridor and serve as India’s gateway to Europe.
• Both countries are strategically positioned at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Strengthening ties allows them to contribute to regional stability and balance in these regions.
• The calibration and close cooperation of the Indian and Greek militaries is to counter the decades-long established Pakistan-Turkey-Azerbaijan axis. The growing threat of terrorism as a result of this nexus is of serious concern to India and Greece.
• According to the International Trade Administration, Greece shipowners own roughly one-fifth of the world’s shipping fleet. India’s partnership with Greece in the shipping domain, will help India in modernizing its shipping industry and will create investment opportunities for Indian firms in Greek Ports.

Other areas of cooperation
• Indian and Hellenic Air Forces (Greece Airforce) participated in the ‘Blue Flag’ exercise held in Israel in 2021.
• The Greek and Indian Air Forces collaborated on a joint training exercise with Su-30, F-16, and Rafale fighter jets for ten days over Greece and the Mediterranean Sea as part of the annual Greek exercise Iniochos 23.
• MEDUSA 12: India participated along with many friendly countries in the “MEDUSA 12” military exercises between Greece and Egypt.

Conclusion
• The state visit by Greek PM Mitsotakis, soon after the visit by PM Modi to Greece in August 2023, provided a huge impetus to the bilateral strategic partnership concluded between the two countries last August.
• Active participation by Greece in the IMEC corridor, defence and security cooperation, and the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement have the potential to take bilateral ties to new heights. With proactive establishments in both countries, the future of bilateral ties appears bright and luminous.

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