India – Italy another strategic partnership in the offing

India – Italy another strategic partnership in the offing

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India – Italy another strategic partnership in the offing

PM Georgia Meloni has politically become the most stable leader in Western Europe. She was among the first World leaders to congratulate Narendra Modi on coming back to form the Government for the third successive tenure.

Meloni is hosting and chairing the G7 Summit on June 13 and 14 in Italy. She has invited PM Modi to the G7 Outreach Summit in Puglia on June 14. Italy is India’s fourth largest trading partner in the European Union, 18th largest foreign investor with bilateral relations upgraded to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’ with focus on defence, Indo-Pacific, energy and science and technology.

The two countries have close and friendly relations as modern and mature democracies, committed to the rule of law, respect for human rights and achieving economic development through inclusive growth. Both celebrated 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations last year.

PM Modi had earlier visited Italy for the G20 Summit in October 2021 and Italian PM visited India on State visit in March 2023 and was Chief Guest at the Raisina Dialogue. She also visited India for the G20 Summit.

India-Italy bilateral relations were upgraded to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’ with a focus on defence, Indo-Pacific, energy and science & technology during her visit. There were several high-level engagements between the two sides since the State visit of the Italian Prime Minister to India.

Several Italion ministers including the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Finance, Agriculture, Education and Culture Ministers, visited India in 2023 for G20-related meetings and held bilateral meetings on the sidelines. Speaker and President of the Italian Senate and Chamber of Deputies too participated in the P20 meeting last year.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal visited Italy in November, October and April last year respectively

At the Virtual Summit in November 2020, between the two PM an Action Plan 2020-2024 was adopted that set an ambitious agenda for an enhanced Partnership between our countries in key areas of economy, science and technology and people-to-people cooperation.

Italy has joined the key India-led global initiatives such as International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI), Global Bio-Fuels Alliance (GBA) and India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC), reflecting growing convergence of our views on important global issues.

In terms of economic engagement, the bilateral trade was INR 127500 Crores in 2022-23, with exports at INR 74000 Crores the highest till now. The two countries are focusing on promising sectors like food processing, textiles, design, manufacturing and financial services.

Indian investment in Italy is estimated around INR 3400 crores. Indian companies in Italy are mainly in IT, pharma, electronics, manufacturing and engineering sectors. Major Indian companies in Italy are: Titagarh Industries, TCS, Mahindra, Ranbaxy, Bombay Rayon, ZydusCadila, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Aurobindo Pharma Italia, HimatsingkaSeide, Varroc Group, Endurance Technologies, Gammon, ABG Group, Aditya Birla, Raymond Zambaiti and Sun Pharma.

The top items of exports from India to Italy are iron and steel, telecom Instruments, petroleum products, products of Iron and Steel, and auto components and parts. The main items of import from Italy include industrial machinery for dairy, electric machinery and equipment, residual chemical and allied products, miscellaneous engineering items and machine tools.

Italy is 18th largest foreign investor in India with a cumulative FDI inflow of USD 3.53 billion from January 2000 to December 2023. There are more than 700 Italian companies in India, with an estimated employment of about 60,000 people with an overall turnover of 9.7 billion Euro. Major Italian Companies operating in India include Ferrero, Fiat, CNH and Perfetti

Success stories include Ferrero in India and Indian investment in Italy like Mahindra in Pininfarina and Titagarh in Firema Railways.

Italy is developing an “Italian Excellence Platform” in Gujarat which will offer technical training and skill building to the workers in an area within the Fanidhar “Mega Food Park” in the state. Italy has strength in design, innovation and technology.

There is longstanding bilateral cooperation in science and technology and there is immense potential for combining Italy’s innovation and cutting edge technologies with India’s rich human resources and economic opportunities, sources said.

Under Executive Programme of Cooperation for the 2022-24 period, India and Italy are jointly funding three Network of Excellence in the areas of Biomedical/Health Sciences and Technologies Applied to Cultural and Natural Heritage; eight projects for Significant Research and 13 Mobility based projects. Since 2005 over 125 joint projects have been carried out.

ISRO has launched five satellites from Italy on commercial mode. India has co-funded substantial amount for construction of two sophisticated Synchrotron facility at Elettra, Trieste, along with Italy. It is being extensively used by Indian scientists on global competitive basis and Indians are the second most users of the facility, after Italian researchers

A MOU on defence cooperation was signed during the Rajnath Singh’s visit to Italy in October, 2023. Joint Defence Committee (JDC) at Defence Secretary level and Military Cooperation Group (MCG) meetings were held in March, 2024.

Italian Navy Ship (ITS Morosini) visited India in August, 2023.

There has been significant contribution of Indian Army in liberating Italian cities during World War-II. About 50,000 Indian soldiers had fought for the liberalization of Italian cities such as Florence, Marino, Cesana, Ferrara, Bologna and Monte-Cassino.

Yashwant Ghadge Memorial in Montone to recognize the gallantry and sacrifice of Indian soldiers during Italian campaign was inaugurated and opened for public in July, 2023.

India has the second largest diaspora in the European Union in Italy after the Netherlands, estimated at two lakh including Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and the fifth largest foreign community in Italy.

Migration and Mobility Agreement was signed during Jaishankar’s visit to Italy in October, 2023 and it will ease movement of people, especially skilled workforce and students and professionals, and at the same time, ensure safe and legal migration.

Many Italians have taken active interest in Indian culture, music, dance, Yoga and Ayurveda.

There is a long-standing Indological tradition in Italy with several scholars taking keen interest in studying Indian languages (Tamil, Hindi and Sanskrit), history and culture.