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Forging a Timeless Alliance: India & Greece Featured

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Forging a Timeless Alliance: India and Greece's Enduring Friendship and Collaborative Future

Author: Kostas Antoniadis

In a historic move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to embark on a groundbreaking visit to Greece next week, marking the first visit by an Indian PM to the country in four decades. This visit is poised to elevate the existing bilateral ties between the two nations to the status of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Greece is keen to harness the robust alignment of interests shared with India on both regional and global fronts, with the ambition of positioning itself as India's gateway to Europe. Prime Minister Modi's day-long sojourn in Athens on August 25 will come on the heels of his participation in the BRICS summit in South Africa.

The prime ministers of India and Greece, Narendra Modi and Kyriakos Mitsotakis respectively, are slated to engage in pivotal talks during the visit. This diplomatic rendezvous is expected to yield a slew of agreements that will span an array of sectors including trade, investment, shipping, migration, culture, and defense cooperation.

Highlighting the importance of the visit, Greece's Charge d'affaires Alexandros Boudouris affirmed, "We really want to act as India's gateway to Europe. And we're ready for it, offering a comprehensive privatization scheme that includes seaports and airports and logistics hubs for Indian investors to start the gateway."

The foundations for this strengthening of ties were laid during Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar's visit to Greece in 2021. Both nations conveyed their commitment to the notion of a strategic partnership. Greece's aspiration is to attract increased investment and talent from India, a desire that culminated in the signing of a Declaration of Intent on Migration and Mobility in the previous year.

The diplomatic rapport between the two nations extends to critical global issues. Both India and Greece are staunch supporters of multilateralism and a rules-based international order. They also share congruent perspectives on complex matters such as Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the contested eastern Mediterranean region, where Greece is entangled in a dispute with Turkey.

This strategic partnership between India and Greece holds significance beyond its immediate scope. It is anticipated to reverberate as a clear message to Turkey, a country that has consistently backed Pakistan on the Jammu and Kashmir issue. Notably, while Greece has been steadfast in its support for India, it refrained from issuing a statement following India's revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.

Underscoring their common vision, Greece, aligns with India's outlook for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region that emphasizes connectivity and comprehensive growth.

In addition to fostering diplomatic ties, this visit marks a historic milestone for India. Prime Minister Modi will be the first Indian PM to visit Greece since Indira Gandhi's visit in 1983. Moreover, it signifies the first bilateral visit at this level by either nation since 2008 when the then Greek PM visited India.

As the visit approaches, anticipation mounts for the outcomes of these high-level discussions and the potential impact on the trajectory of India-Greece relations, as well as their joint influence on the global stage.

India and Greece, two nations with a rich history of interconnectedness spanning over 2500 years, have nurtured a robust and amicable relationship that transcends time and geography. This camaraderie is founded on a foundation of mutual respect, unwavering support on crucial global matters, and a shared commitment to fostering cooperation across various sectors.

Historical Ties:

Glimpses of India's engagement with Greece can be traced back to the days of the Mauryan dynasty, where trade between Mauryan Kings and Greece left an indelible mark through coinage and historical accounts. The ambitious expedition led by Alexander the Great in 326 BC unveiled a chapter of interaction, as he ventured into the Indian subcontinent and engaged with local rulers.

Diplomatic and Political Relations:

Formal diplomatic relations between India and Greece were established in May 1950, a friendship that flourished through the years. Notably, Greece supported India on multiple international platforms, endorsing India's aspirations for a permanent seat in an expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and lending support at forums like the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) and MTCR. The Greek Defence Minister's visit to India in 1998, following India's nuclear tests, marked a significant moment of solidarity and cooperation.

Shared Stances and Collaborations:

The convergence of interests extends to issues of core national interest. Greece's stance on matters such as Kashmir and Cyprus mirrors India's concerns, earning appreciation. Notably, Greece has refrained from issuing statements on recent developments in Kashmir, reaffirming the depth of mutual understanding.

Both nations have championed a rules-based international order and multilateralism. This common vision was underlined when Greece showed support for India's candidature in various international bodies, including the UNSC, MTCR, and others.

Economic Engagements:

Trade and commerce have been a key facet of the relationship. India exports a diverse range of products to Greece, including aluminum, textiles, machinery, and more. Conversely, Greece imports items like machinery, fuel, textiles, and building materials from India. The annual Thessaloniki International Fair has provided a platform for India to be showcased as the "Honored Country," fostering deeper trade connections.

Cultural Exchange and Future Prospects:

Cultural affinity is evident in various aspects, including India's participation in Greek expositions and the unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi's statue in Athens. The signing of agreements on cultural and educational exchange programs and migration and mobility further bolsters the multifaceted relationship.

Anticipating the upcoming visit of Mr. Thanos Paraschos, the Managing Director of Startup Greece, it becomes evident that the mutual desire to nurture bilateral relations between our two nations is gaining momentum. The focus of this forthcoming visit, centered around technology entrepreneurship, serves as a vivid testament to our shared commitment to fostering innovation. This significant upcoming endeavor reaffirms the historical bonds that tie us together and underscores their contemporary relevance. Undoubtedly, it is of great significance to emphasize that the esteemed Dr. Monojit Das is assuming a pivotal role in orchestrating and facilitating this imminent visit.

As India and Greece traverse modern challenges and opportunities, their enduring friendship and shared values continue to shape the trajectory of bilateral relations. The historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirms the commitment to this flourishing partnership, as both nations carve a path towards a prosperous future built on trust, respect, and shared interests.

Last modified on Saturday, 19 August 2023 15:58

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