In a message given to all Greeks through Greek City Times for the bicentennial celebration of the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, H.E. Mr. Amrit Lugun, Ambassador of India, expressed warm wishes and highlighted Greek-Indian relations.
I join millions of my countrymen in extending our greetings and best wishes to the leadership and the citizens of Greece on its National Day on 25 March 2021, which is special this year as it is the bicentennial celebrations of the 1821 Greek Revolution.
India has also commenced celebrations of 75 years of Independence from March 2021 which will culminate in August 2023. Both, India and Greece, are ancient civilizations and modern democracies. Greece is where the idea of democracy originated, and India happens to be the world’s largest democracy.
Interaction between India and Greece goes back to antiquity. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in May 1950. The relationship has progressed smoothly over the last 70 years.
In modern times, the two countries have developed a warm relationship based on a common commitment to democracy, peace and development in the world and to a social system imbued with principles of justice and equality.
Our shared values of democracy, pluralism, the rule of law, multiculturalism, and the freedom of press underpin the bilateral relations.
Despite the restrictions due to pandemic situation last year, India and Greece continued their interactions at high level.
The External Affairs Minister of India held a virtual meeting with his Greek counterpart and Foreign Office Consultations, again in virtual format, between the Foreign Offices of the two countries.
The trade and economic relations are growing steadily between the two countries, though it is still below potential.
India participated in the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) 2019 as the ‘Honoured Country’. In the Food Expo 2020 which was scheduled to be held in March 2020 in Athens, which did not happen due to lockdown, India was to participate as the ‘Honoured Country’ again.
Pandemic has affected progress in economic and commercial relations since then.
Once situation stabilises, it is hoped that activities would increase.
Greece has also become a popular tourist destination for Indian travellers. Before Covid-19, in 2019, 80,000 Indian tourists visited Greece, double than the previous year.
In 2020, the numbers were expected to increase further, but for the situation created by Covid-19.
The two nations, with a shared global vision, want peace and stability in the world and seek peaceful resolution of conflicts. We appreciate Greece’s efforts to bring peace, stability and constructive cooperation in southern Europe and the Balkans.
At our end, we are committed to promotion of durable peace, security and development in our South Asian region, as also with our extended neighbourhood.
India and Greece are effectively facing the challenges imposed by Covid-19.
Greece has been able to do better in containing the pandemic than many others, as statistics amply bear out, which is commendable.
Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has put in every effort to convert the crisis into an opportunity. India has emerged as a reliable stakeholder in global healthcare supply chains with major strengths in manufacturing, research and development (R&D) and innovation. Vaccines manufactured in India for Covid-19 are being supplied to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and to a number of countries.
Given profound appreciation of each other’s ancient cultural heritage, art, philosophy and intrinsic values, the people-to-people linkages through tourism, promotion of shooting of Indian films in Greece, greater academic and scientific exchanges would augment our outreach in the coming years. India and Greece can collaborate in various sectors such as shipping, ports and infrastructure, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, space cooperation, defence, agriculture, leisure and tourism, to name some.
I once again take pleasure in extending our greetings to the leadership and friendly people of Greece on the occasion of National Day on 25 March 2021 and wish well for their health and prosperity.
Ambassador of India
to the Hellenic Republic