Mitsotakis to visit India "with a significant delegation of business people"

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis India

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is seeking to diversify investments in Greece and highlighted India as a key partner. The Greek leader, reported Nikkei Asia, is planning a "state visit" to India with "a significant delegation of business people" before the end of the year.

India "is opening up and growing, their companies are exploring their opportunities in the European market," he said. "I can see a lot of interest by Indian companies" in sectors like pharmaceuticals, adding that he welcomed investment in a new airport in his country.

"We see huge synergies in terms of our relationship with India. We're the closest European country to India -- a six hour flight -- and as India is opening up and growing and expanding, their companies are expanding their opportunities."

His comments come as Mitsotakis met with Japanese premier Fumio Kishida on Monday as part of an effort to promote Greece in Asia as a strategic partner and investment destination. Mitsotakis declared in Davos this month that "Greece has turned the page" and is now sending the same message across Asia.

He said Greece is on a "long-term sustainable growth trajectory" and pointed to a growth rate in 2022 that was double that of the eurozone. This is in addition to the decline in its national ratio of debt to gross domestic product.

"Hopefully [Greek sovereign bonds] will be back to investment grade this year," he said. "There is significant potential for portfolio investments by Japanese asset managers into Greek assets, both debt and equity."

He said Greece's location allows it to serve as a gateway for countries in Asia to access Europe, the Middle East and Africa, but was more cautious on China.

Greece is now looking to diversify foreign investment after a watershed deal in 2016 with Chinese shipping and logistics giant COSCO in Piraeus, the country's largest port. Now owned by COSCO, Piraeus is seen as key to China's Belt and Road Initiative, its global infrastructure development strategy, in Europe.

That deal alarmed European counterparts, which viewed China's growing influence as a threat to the region, Nikkei Asia reported.

Greece is now distancing itself from Beijing over issues such as human rights and tacit support of the Ukraine war, with Mitsotakis saying that "our intention now is to greatly diversify foreign direct investments coming into the country."

While the Chinese investment in Piraeus has been "more or less successful," he said "we have not seen a significant interest by Chinese capital to invest in Greece over the past years."

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