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22th February 2024 (11 Topics)

India, Greece agree to bolster ties

Context

India and Greece agreed to bolster cooperation in areas ranging from defence manufacturing and trade to connectivity and to speedily finalise a migration and mobility pact as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his visiting Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Background

  • Strategic partnership: Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the first Greek premier to travel to India in 16 years, and his trip is a follow-up to Modi’s visit to Athens last August, the first by an Indian premier in four decades.
    • At the time, the two sides upgraded their ties to a strategic partnership.
  • The recent discussions provided the two leaders an opportunity to assess the progress made since then.

Key-takeaways of the Talk

  • Defence: The two sides agreed to link their defence industries.
  • Range of sectors for collaboration: The two sides identified new opportunities in pharmaceuticals, agriculture, medical devices, technology, innovation and space to give new energy to their cooperation.
    • They also discussed ways to boost cooperation in shipping and connectivity.
  • India welcomed Greece’s “positive role” in the Indo-Pacific and its decision to join the India-led Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).

India-led Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)

  • It is an open, non-treaty based initiative for countries to work together for cooperative and collaborative solutions to common challenges in the region. 
  • It extends the "Security and Growth for All in the Region" (SAGAR) initiative initiated in 2015 by the Indian government. 
  • The Initiative is open to all the participating nations from the region. 
  • There was also agreement on cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Greece can become an important partner in the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) launched during India’s G20 presidency last year.

India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor:

  • In a bid to stimulate economic development through enhanced connectivity and economic integration, India, along with other members of the G20, has entered into a historic memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop an India-Middle East-Europe economic corridor.
  • The project is a part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII) — a West-led initiative for funding infrastructure projects across the world.
  • Objective: The corridor aims to provide a reliable and cost-effective ship-to-rail transit network between Asia, Middle East and Europe.
  • Proposals: The corridor will comprise of two separate corridors,
    • The Eastern corridor - will connect India to the Arabian Gulf.
    • The Northern corridor- will connect the Arabian Gulf to Europe.
  • Member Nations: Apart from India, the other participants will include Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, Italy, USA and the European Union.

Why is Greece important fir India?

  • Strategic location: Greece’s strategic location in the Mediterranean Sea makes it a major player in the global shipping industry.
    • The country’s shipowners own roughly one-fifth of the world’s shipping fleet and almost 60% of the European Union’s fleet, according to the International Trade Administration, a US government agency.
  • Strong play in IMEC: The country is expected to be a key player in IMEC, which will help facilitate export of Indian goods to the European markets.

India’s increasing influence in the Mediterranean region

The Mediterranean, a crucial corridor for global trade, has seen instability due to civil wars in the Middle East and maritime disputes over the past decade. India's increased defence ties with Mediterranean nations, including Italy, Egypt, and recently Greece, indicate a strategic move to amplify its influence in the region.

What has been decided for the likely future?

  • Migration and mobility pact: The two sides decided to conclude the migration and mobility partnership agreement between the two countries as soon as possible. The mobility pact will be a key step towards strengthening cooperation on legal migration, fighting human trafficking and offering young Indians an opportunity to work in Greece.
  • Doubling trade: The discussion pushed for the two sides to double their trade – currently worth about $2 billion – before the target year of 2030. 

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