Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis' India Visit Bolsters Economic Ties

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Greece Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is scheduled to visit New Delhi this week, marking a significant event following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to Athens just over six months ago, where bilateral relations were elevated to a strategic partnership and India's broader interests in the Mediterranean region were emphasized.

Mitsotakis will serve as the chief guest at India's premier foreign policy forum, the Raisina Dialogue, taking place from February 21 to 23. Additionally, he will hold a summit meeting with Prime Minister Modi, marking the first visit of a Greek Prime Minister to India since 2008.

Greece has become an important anchor for India's engagement in the Mediterranean, with New Delhi seeking a presence at Greek ports and a broader defence partnership. Given its strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, Greece could serve as a crucial point for the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) in Europe.

Furthermore, while India has consistently supported Greece on the issue of Northern Cyprus, Athens has historically backed India's stance on Kashmir.

During Modi's visit to Athens, both leaders articulated their vision for a free, open, and rules-based Mediterranean Sea and Indo-Pacific region in accordance with international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while respecting sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom of navigation.

The visit led to directives for regular dialogue across various domains, including political, economic, defence, security, and public diplomacy. Both leaders also endorsed the promotion of direct flights between Greece and India.

Modi was honoured with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour by Katerina N. Sakellaropoulou, President of Greece, during his visit, making him the first foreign head of government to receive this distinction.

A meeting between Greek and Indian entrepreneurs highlighted opportunities for enhancing economic cooperation, particularly in infrastructure, high technology, renewable energy, tourism, food, pharmaceuticals, and shipping sectors.

Modi encouraged Greek businesses to capitalize on the positive momentum in bilateral ties and emphasized India's openness to foreign investment, including in the defence sector, which offers significant potential for co-development and co-production.

It's noteworthy that amidst discussions of sanctions by Western countries following India's nuclear tests in May 1998, the Greek defence minister visited India and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation, marking the first visit by a defence minister from a NATO member state to India after the nuclear tests.

Recent interactions include the participation of the Indian Air Force in the multinational air exercise INIOCHOS-23 hosted by the Hellenic Air Force and the visit of the Indian Navy warship INS Chennai to Souda Bay, Crete, where it conducted a passage exercise with the Hellenic naval ship Nikiforos Fokas in the Aegean Sea. Additionally, there are discussions about India potentially acquiring decommissioned French-built Mirage fighter jets from Greece.

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