India – Greece Relationship
Context : India and Greece agreed to upgrade bilateral ties to the level of strategic partnership. Announcing the decision in Athens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the two countries will collaborate in the field of defence and will soon conclude an agreement on migration mobility to smoothen movement of skilled population of both sides.
Key Agreements during the visit
- India and Greece agreed to establish a “Strategic Partnership” and announced plans for a dialogue mechanism between their National Security Advisers apart from plans for a skilled migration and mobility partnership, as well as cooperation to complete negotiations for the India-European Union (EU) Free Trade Negotiation on Connectivity partnership.
Ancient Greece and India : Historical Connections
- The historical connections between India and Greece date back to ancient times. The influence of Greek philosophy, art, and culture can be traced to the Indian subcontinent, particularly during the Hellenistic period.
- The teachings of Greek philosophers like Pyrrho and the travels of Alexander the Great left an indelible mark on the cultural fabric of India.
- These historical interactions have provided a strong foundation for the modern diplomatic relationship.
Diplomatic Ties between India and Greece
- India and Greece established diplomatic relations in May 1950. India opened its resident Embassy in Athens in March 1978. Interaction between
- India and Greece goes back to antiquity. In modern times, the two countries have developed a warm relationship based on a common commitment to democracy, peace and development in the world and to a social system imbued with principles of justice and equality.
- Despite the geographical distance that separates them, the relationship between these two nations has evolved into a multifaceted partnership characterized by economic collaboration, cultural exchanges, and mutual diplomatic support.
Cultural Bonds and People-to-People Ties:
- Cultural affinity serves as a bridge between India and Greece. Both countries are rich in heritage and ancient civilizations, fostering mutual appreciation for each other’s cultural contributions.
- The allure of Greece’s breathtaking landscapes and historical sites draws Indian tourists, contributing to people-to-people contacts and enhancing cross-cultural understanding.
- Cultural festivals, art exhibitions, and academic exchanges further strengthen these ties, creating a shared sense of appreciation for diversity and heritage.
- Economic collaboration plays a pivotal role in the India-Greece relationship. Bilateral trade has been steadily growing, with both nations recognizing the untapped potential for deeper engagement.
- Areas of mutual interest include maritime trade, shipping, technology, renewable energy, and tourism.
- The strategic locations of both countries can be leveraged to enhance connectivity and facilitate trade, contributing to economic growth and development.
- The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries for 2015-16 was US $ 445.23 million. Main items of export from Greece to India are cotton, scrap (mostly aluminum, ferrous, copper and lead), marble and granite and calcium carbonate. Indian exports to Greece comprise petroleum products (jet fuel), automobile components and automobiles (cars and SUVs), flat rolled steel items, sesame seeds, electrical transformers, frozen prawns/shrimps and squid, cashew nuts, coffee and soyabean
Strategic and Defense Partnerships:
- The partnership between India and Greece extends to strategic and defense cooperation. Both nations recognize the importance of regional stability and security in an increasingly complex global environment. Maritime security and counterterrorism efforts have been areas of mutual interest, reflecting a shared commitment to maintaining peace and stability in their respective regions.
- Greece’s position at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa aligns with India’s “Act East” policy. Enhanced ties can contribute to regional stability and economic integration.
- India’s “SAGAR” (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative aligns with Greece’s strategic location in the Eastern Mediterranean. Maritime cooperation holds potential in terms of connectivity and security.
- India and Greece collaborate in various international forums, often aligning their positions on global issues such as climate change, sustainable development, and human rights. These collaborations highlight their shared commitment to upholding democratic values and promoting a rules-based international order. Such diplomatic synergy strengthens the voice of both nations on the global stage.
- India and Greece share common approach on many initiatives including UN reform and the Cyprus issue.
Education and Research Exchanges:
- Academic exchanges and research collaborations between India and Greece contribute to knowledge-sharing and capacity-building. Scholarships and partnerships between universities facilitate the exchange of ideas, expertise, and innovative solutions to shared challenges. These educational ties create a lasting impact by fostering intellectual growth and promoting cross-cultural understanding.
- The India-Greece relationship holds immense promise for the future. As both nations continue to evolve and adapt to global dynamics, the potential for collaboration across various sectors remains vast. Opportunities for joint ventures, technology transfer, and cultural exchanges are ripe for exploration. Additionally, the partnership could extend to addressing global challenges such as climate change, healthcare, and technological innovation.