In a defining moment for international diplomacy, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Greece at the invitation of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis marked the establishment of a new era in bilateral relations between India and Greece.
The joint statement released during this visit announced the elevation of their bilateral ties to the level of a “strategic partnership,” underscoring a mutual commitment to deepen cooperation across various dimensions.
The foundation of this strengthened partnership lies in the historical, cultural, and economic ties that have connected India and Greece for decades.
The joint statement emphasised building upon these ties to create a framework that encompasses political, security, and economic cooperation. This strategic partnership is a testament to the strong and enduring friendship between the two nations.
Economic Collaboration: Doubling Bilateral Trade and Beyond
One of the key goals set by the leaders is the endeavour to double bilateral trade by the year 2030. This ambitious target reflects the shared understanding that economic collaboration is essential for the prosperity of both countries. Recent growth in bilateral trade and economic cooperation provided a solid foundation for pursuing this goal.
Beyond trade, the partnership extends to the realm of sustainable development. Greece’s inclusion in the International Solar Alliance (ISA) aligns with India’s vision of promoting renewable energy on a global scale. Moreover, the anticipation of Greece’s membership in the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) demonstrates the joint commitment to building resilient infrastructure against natural disasters.
Cultural Exchanges and Heritage Preservation
The deep cultural and historical connections between India and Greece serve as a cornerstone for the partnership. Both Prime Minister Modi and his Greek counterpart, Prime Minister Mitsotakis, welcomed efforts to promote exchanges in various forms of art. This cultural dialogue not only fosters mutual understanding but also showcases the rich heritage that both countries share.
Furthermore, the commitment to preserving and protecting ancient sites holds significant importance. The joint efforts and collaboration within UNESCO reflect the shared dedication to safeguarding these valuable cultural treasures. This commitment goes beyond bilateral ties, contributing to the global endeavour to protect humanity’s shared heritage.
Global Leadership and Partnerships
PM Modi’s visit also provided a platform for discussions on global matters. Greece’s endorsement of India’s leadership within the G20 forum and its support for India’s Presidency of the G20 reflect a recognition of India’s role in shaping the global economic agenda.
The leaders’ discussions extended to international partnerships, with a focus on the ongoing India-EU trade and investment negotiations. This commitment underscores the desire for a multilateral approach to economic growth and cooperation.
Bilateral Agreements: Strengthening Cooperation
The visit also saw the signing of agreements that further solidify cooperation. An agreement in the field of agriculture highlights the commitment to collaborate in sectors critical to both countries’ economies. Additionally, the announcement of a Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement reflects the intent to foster closer ties and facilitate movement between the two nations.
Security and Intelligence Cooperation
The elevation of bilateral relations was complemented by steps to enhance security cooperation. The decision to empower military relations and establish an NSA-level dialogue platform indicates a shared commitment to addressing security challenges collaboratively. Discussions on mutual cooperation in countering terrorism and ensuring cyber security demonstrate the strategic dimension of the partnership.
Diaspora and People-to-People Ties
According to the 2011 Greek census, the number of Indian community is 11,333. Currently, they are estimated to be between 13000-14000, according to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs paper released on August 9, 2023, on India-Greece relations.
They have been living across various parts of Greece for many years and are predominantly from Punjab and largely Sikhs. Most Indians are farm, factory or construction workers.
The vibrant and enthusiastic welcome received by Prime Minister Modi from the Indian diaspora during his visit reflects the strong bonds that connect the people of both nations. This cultural bridge is a testament to the deep-rooted connections that span continents and generations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour.
President of Greece Katerina N Sakellaropoulou feted PM Modi with the Grand Cross after the latter called on the former during his day-long official visit to Greece.
“A special honour reflecting the strength of India-Greece partnership. PM @narendramodi conferred with Grand Cross of the Order of Honour by @PresidencyGR Katerina N. Sakellaropoulou,” tweeted Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi.
The Order of Honour was established in 1975. The head of goddess Athena is depicted on the front side of the Star with the inscription “ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS SHOULD BE HONOURED”.
The Grand Cross of the Order of Honour is conferred by the President of Greece to Prime Ministers and eminent personalities who by reason of their distinguished position, have contributed to enhancing the stature of Greece.
The citation says- “In the person of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an honour is bestowed upon the friendly people of India.”
Historic Significance and Future Prospects
Prime Minister Modi’s visit holds historical significance, as he became the first Indian Prime Minister in four decades to visit Greece. This milestone underscores the commitment to further deepen and diversify existing ties.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Greece has ushered in a new chapter in India-Greece relations. The elevation to a strategic partnership, coupled with agreements and collaborations across various sectors, demonstrates a shared commitment to mutual growth and cooperation. This historic visit has set the stage for a more profound and multifaceted partnership between the two nations, promoting economic prosperity, cultural exchange, security cooperation, and global leadership.
Support Our Journalism
Global Indian Diaspora needs fair, non-hyphenated, and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. The Australia Today – with exceptional reporters, columnists, and editors – is doing just that. Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.
Whether you live in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, or India, you can pay a subscription by clicking Patreon. Buy an annual ‘The Australia Today Membership’ to support independent journalism and get special benefits.