Pitching the bilateral ties between India and Italy to a whole new level Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni issued joint statements in a range of fields. Addressing a joint press conference here in New Delhi PM Modi discussed ways to boost economic and strategic ties with Italy and united way to combat terrorism and cyber crime and enhance cooperation at all levels.
Prime Minister Gentolini received a grand reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Premier Gentolini is accompanied by his wife and a 15 member delegation to highlight the diplomatic ties between the two countries.
In the meeting held Modi declared, “We discussed several aspects of cooperation between India and Italy in our detailed meetings today. Both of us are committed to fight united against terror and on the issue of cyber security. India and Italy are also committed to increasing tourism and people-to-people ties between the two countries,”. Italy is counted as the 13th biggest investor in India with a recorded investment of $2.41 billion from April 2000 to June 2017.
Pointing towards diplomatic ties between the two countries Prime Minister Modi also conveyed that we are also committed to increase prospects of tourism and people to people connection between the two nations.
Even in the commercial sector there is a great scope of collaboration between India and Italy, Italy being India’s fifth largest trading partner in EU. with a trade value worth $8.79 as per official figures. Post meeting the two leaders signed six MOUs for cooperation for safety in railway sector, cooperation in field of energy, executive protocol on cultural cooperation and promote mutual investments. According to External Affairs Minister spokesperson Raveesh Kumar PM Modi and Premier Gentolini interacted with 12 Indian and 19 Italian business leaders for boosting economic and investment cooperation.
But what set apart the meeting was the signing of MoU on completion of 70 years of diplomatic relations between India and Italy. Prime Minister Gentolini’s breaks the ice since the last Prime Minsterial visit from Italy almost a decade ago. The last Italian Premier to have visited India was Romano Prodi back in 2007.
“After more than a decade, the visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral, political and economic relations between India and Italy,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement ahead of Gentiloni’s visit.
The diplomatic relations between Italy and India were severely hit after 2012 after two Italian marines Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone were arrested aboard a ship Enrica Lexie for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast. The case is pending the verdict at the international court of Hague.
However it was since last year that the Indo-Italian ties were resumed when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Italy on the opportune moment of Mother Teresa’s canonization.
India has over 600 Italian companies covering various sectors of fashion, textile, energy,insurance, automobile and engineering. Italy has a remarkable population of Indian expats close to 200,000.
Here is the synopsis of the MoUs signed between India and Italy-
- Joint Declaration of Intent of Cooperation for Safety in the Railway sector between India and Italy.
- MoU on 70 years of diplomatic relations between Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Government of the Republic of Italy.
- MoU on cooperation In the field of Energy between India and Italy.
- Executive Protocol on Cultural Cooperation between India and Italy.
- MoU between the Training Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The government of the Republic of Italy and the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of the Republic of India.
- MoU for promoting mutual investments between Italian Trade Agency and Invest India.