Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday.Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS

India, Greece agree to boost IMEC connectivity; firm up migration and mobility pact

In the talks, 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.

NEW DELHI India and Greece on Monday 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, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis holding extensive talks to impart "new energy" to the bilateral ties.

Modi said the two sides have common concerns and priorities in the fight against terrorism and there was a discussion in detail on how to further strengthen cooperation in this area.

In his media statement, the prime minister said he and Mitsotakis discussed many regional and international issues and it was agreed that all disputes and tensions should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.

At a media briefing, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said the two leaders discussed ways to bolster connectivity, including through the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and that the private sector would be encouraged to roll out bilateral flight services.

Modi and Mitsotakis also discussed the ongoing developments in Europe, Kwatra said, in an oblique reference to the conflict in Ukraine.

In the talks, 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 a 'strategic partnership' following Modi's trip.

In his remarks, Mitsotakis said the world today is facing unprecedented challenges that require immediate and efficient action and India has a critical role to play in this.

"We view India as one of the main pillars of stability and security in the wider region of the Indo-Pacific," he said.

India welcomes Greece's active participation and positive role in the Indo-Pacific and it is a matter of happiness that the European nation has decided to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, Modi said.

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

"Our discussions today were very meaningful and useful. It is a matter of happiness that we are rapidly moving towards the goal of doubling bilateral trade by 2030. We identified several new opportunities to give new energy and direction to our cooperation," Modi said.

He said the growing India-Greece cooperation in defence and security reflects the "deep mutual trust."

"With the formation of a working group in this area, we will be able to increase mutual coordination on common challenges like defence, cyber security, counter-terrorism, and maritime security," Modi said.

"New opportunities for co-production and co-development are being created in defence manufacturing in India, which can be beneficial for both countries," he said.

Modi said it was agreed to link the defence industries of both countries.

"Today we identified several new initiatives to give a modern form to these relations. We discussed concluding the migration and mobility partnership agreement between the two countries as soon as possible. This will further strengthen our people-to-people relations," he said.

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

"In today's meeting, we also discussed many regional and international issues. We agree that all disputes and tensions should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy," Modi said.

"We welcome Greece's active participation and positive role in the Indo-Pacific. It is a matter of happiness that Greece has decided to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative," he said. There has also been a desire for cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

In his remarks, Modi also referred to the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and said it would make a significant contribution to the development of humanity in the long run.

"Greece can also become an important partner in this initiative. We agree to reform the UN and other global institutions, so that they can be made contemporary. India and Greece will continue their efforts to contribute to global peace and stability," Modi said.

Launched in September, 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), which has faced increasing criticism over a lack of transparency and disregard for the sovereignty of the nations.

Modi said both sides also discussed connecting the start-ups of the two countries.

"Shipping and connectivity are topics of high priority for both countries. We also discussed increasing cooperation in these areas."

The prime minister said that there are many possibilities for closer cooperation between the two countries in the field of agriculture as well.

The Greek prime minister's visit to India came around six months after Modi's trip to that country.

"His visit to India after my visit to Greece last year is a sign of the strengthening strategic partnership between the two countries," Modi said.

Kwatra said two leaders focused on the importance of maritime connectivity as well as partnerships through corridors, particularly IMEC.

The foreign secretary said several agreements were finalised in the private sector. Both leaders reinforced their commitment to building partnerships in the Mediterranean Sea as well as in the Indo-Pacific, he said.

Mitsotakis was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan ahead of his talks with Modi.

In the morning, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on the Greek prime minister.

"Delighted to call on Prime Minister @kmitsotakis of Greece today. Valued his commitment to enhancing India-Greece ties. Look forward to the strengthening of our strategic partnership," Jaishankar posted on X.

The Greek prime minister began his India visit this morning by paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

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