PM Modi has struck yet another strategic partnership – this time with Greece. He has elevated ties with Greece during his maiden visit; interestingly, this is the first official visit by an Indian prime minister to Greece in 40 years. Indira Gandhi, then premier, visited Greece in 1983, at the invitation of her counterpart, Andreas Papandreou.
The focus of their expanding partnership is initially on defence. The Indian Air Force took part in a European military exercise staged in Greece this spring, while India and Greece held a combined naval exercise in Crete. Furthermore, Greek fighter jets are expected to take part in an Indian Air Force drill for the first time in September.
India keen on accessing Greek ports
There is further convergence of interests with India keen on accessing Greek ports for boosting its European exports while Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his government want to cast Greece as India’s “bridge” to the EU.
During the visit, the two countries have acknowledged the need to double bilateral trade by 2030 in infrastructure, agriculture, education and new and emerging technologies. Going beyond, the two sides also agreed to have an institutional dialogue framework at the level of national security advisors.
Both sides have excellent coordination
Flanked by Mitsotakis, Modi said in his media statement that both sides have “excellent coordination” on geopolitical, international and regional issues, including that of the Indo-Pacific.
On his part, Mitsotakis said both sides are ready to move forward to deal with various challenges, “especially in a period of upheaval and war in Ukraine”. The two sides also discussed mutual cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism and cyber security. An agreement on agricultural cooperation was also signed following the talks.
The discussions covered digital payments, shipping, pharma, tourism, culture, education and people to people ties. Describing India and Greece as a “natural match”, Modi said a migration and mobility partnership agreement will be inked “soon” to facilitate skilled migration between the two countries.
Grand Cross of the Order of Honour award
Modi also thanked people of Greece and the country’s President Katerina N Sakellaropoulou for awarding him with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour award. The MEA said Mitsotakis congratulated Modi on the success of the Chandrayaan mission, terming it as a success for humanity.