India, Greece to sign migration and mobility pact soon

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis held extensive talks in New Delhi to impart new energy to the bilateral ties. Photo: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis held extensive talks in New Delhi to impart new energy to the bilateral ties.

India and Greece agreed to work towards co-production and co-development of military hardware and decided to firm up a mobility and migration pact as soon as possible.

The pact would provide employment opportunities for Indians in Greece besides easing flow of students and business people between the two countries.

The two leaders discussed ways to bolster connectivity including through India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and that the private sector would be encouraged to roll out bilateral flight services.

The IMEC is seen as an initiative by like-minded nations to gain strategic influence in the face of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that has faced increasing criticism over lack of transparency and disregard for sovereignty of the nations.

The two sides decided on a series of new initiatives to double bilateral trade by 2030, a target that was set during Modi's visit to Greece in August last year.

India-Greece relations were elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’ following  PM Modi’s trip.

The two sides deliberated on increasing cooperation in many areas like pharma, medical devices, technology, innovation, skill development, agriculture and space.

There has also been a resolve for cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

India-Greece bilateral ties

• India’s contacts with Greece began over 2,500 years ago. Trading between the Mauryan Kings and Greece is evidenced by coinage and writings. In 326 BC, Alexander’s expedition led him to the North-Western part of the Indian subcontinent as far as the Hyphasis (Beas River), where he fought with Raja Puru, King of Paurava — between the Jhelum and Chenab, and Ambhi who ruled at Taxila. Gandhara art is believed to be a fusion of Indian and Greek influences.

• Diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in May 1950. Greece opened its Embassy in Delhi in 1950 and India in Athens in 1978.

• The two main forums for conducting bilateral talks are Joint Economic Committee (JEC) and Foreign Office Consultations (FOC). It meets alternatively in Delhi and Athens. 

• India and Greece have signed many agreements on various sectors like Avoidance of Double Taxation (1967), Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in 1983, on Cultural Relations in 1961 which resulted in several Cultural Exchange Programmes (CEPs), on Tourism in 1998, on Defence Cooperation in 1998, and an MoU on Agricultural Cooperation in 2001.

• The main export items from India to Greece are aluminum, organic chemicals, fish and crustaceans, iron and steel, plastic and textile articles, etc.

• The main import items from Greece are aluminium foil, mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, lime and cement, nuclear reactors, etc.

• The bilateral merchandise trade stood at about $2 billion in 2022-23.

• According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, 518 identified soldiers of undivided India, sacrificed their lives, defending the Allied cause in Southern Europe during World War-I were buried/commemorated in different cemeteries in the territory of Greece. 

• Dimitrios Galanos, who was born in Athens in 1760, spent 47 years in India. He translated many Hindu texts into Greek and compiled a Sanskrit-English-Greek dictionary of over 9,000 words. He died on May 3, 1833 in Varanasi. A ‘Dimitrios Galanos Chair for Hellenic Studies’ was established at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in September 2000.

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