A New Relationship That’s 2,500 Years Old
Greece and India are bound by historic ties of friendship dating back thousands of years. As ancient civilizations, our peoples interacted with and influenced each other in a wide variety of fields.
Crucially, elements of our cultures were interwoven into each other’s and continue to remain relevant to this day, not only in our own two countries, but also across the broader regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Standing at the crossroads of three continents, and as an EU and NATO member, Greece is perfectly placed tο be India’s gateway to Europe.
Today, our two countries share common democratic values and a firm commitment to international law, including the Law of the Sea. We also agree on the need to safeguard the rules-based international world order and promote global peace, stability and development.
Which is why, given the challenges posed by a rapidly changing world, India and Greece, as maritime nations with firm values and rich histories, are in the best possible place to work together to navigate a better future.
Bilateral relations between us are today stronger than they have ever been. In recent years, our countries have demonstrated a sincere commitment to advancing cooperation in areas of common interest, to our mutual benefit and to that of our wider regions. Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to Greece, the first since that of Indira Gandhi 40 years ago, marks an important milestone in our burgeoning relationship. Proof positive if it were needed, of the consolidation of our strategic partnership, and the deepening of our cooperation in crucial fields, from defense and agriculture, to tourism and culture.
We have, of course, already achieved much already. In defense, the Indian Air Force and Navy recently participated in a joint exercise with the Greek Armed Forces, while the Hellenic Air Force and Navy will soon be present in the Indo-Pacific, strengthening capabilities in keeping seaways peaceful, open and inclusive.
As historic seafaring nations, we have long shared common views on the importance of ensuring freedom of navigation, maritime security and the full respect for the International Law of the Sea, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to which we are both signatories.
On economic cooperation, we increased our trade to 1.32 billion Euros in 2022, a record high. Indian businesses are beginning to view Greece as an important gateway to Europe. GMR is already here, building the new international airport on Crete. I would encourage other Indian businesses to join them, to seek out new opportunities around seaports, airports, technology, logistics hubs, infrastructure, energy and renewables that feature prominently in my government’s Greece 2.0 Masterplan. Greek businesses are already exploring opportunities in India in a variety of fields, including food, pharmaceutical supplies, shipping.
Yet another crucial element of our friendship is the importance our two countries attach to strengthening EU – India relations. India and the EU are global players that share common values and goals. I believe it is therefore to our mutual interest that we seek to further intensify our coordination, particularly on regional and global issues. As important trade partners, the successful conclusion of an EU-India Free Trade Agreement would be a significant step in advancing those relations.
Last but not least, I invite Indians to come to Greece! My country is not just about sun and sea, beautiful beaches, and idyllic islands. I encourage you to come and discover a diverse range of stunning all year round destinations across the country, destinations enriched by ancient history, unique culture and stunning natural beauty.
As we welcome Prime Minister Modi to Greece to launch our strategic partnership, I remain confident that after over 2,500 years of interaction and exchange, the best is yet to come in Greek – Indian relations. Finding common ground in our shared future will be an asset for both our countries. More importantly, it can and will be a legacy that will benefit the entire world.