India and Italy: Friends in a turbulent world

Source– The post is based on the article “India and Italy: Friends in a turbulent world” published in “The Indian Express” on 15th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Bilateral groupings and agreements

Relevance– India and Italy relationship

News– On the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and India, the summit between the Italian Prime Minister and Indian Prime Minister was held on March 2.

What is the status of India and Italy bilateral relationship?

Economic partnership-Bilateral trade reached 15 billion euros in 2022. It is double in comparison to 2020.

In 2020, a five-year action plan was adopted. It has a well-defined range of priorities: Energy transition, food processing, advanced manufacturing, the creative industry and infrastructure of various kinds.

Regional and global cooperation– In recent years, Italy has joined all the multilateral initiatives promoted by India. Some of these are Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Coalition for Disaster Relief Infrastructure (CDRI), and International Solar Alliance.

Both have a common vision for an Indo-Pacific based on respect for international law, freedom of navigation and territorial integrity.

On the Ukraine issue, both countries are trying to find a solution to the conflict.

Cultural relations– Both have collaboration in the cultural field, heritage front and the creative industry (fashion, design, cinema) as well.

Science and Technology– Both countries have launched 13 new joint projects for scientific research and technology.

People- to-people contacts– In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the flow of Indian students and workers in Italy. The Indian community exceeds a figure of 2,00,000 in Italy. It is the highest in the European Union

Health sector– During the pandemic, both countries collaborated since the beginning. They have exchanged experiences and practices, launched humanitarian initiatives, and promoted joint research projects.

What were major developments during the summit?

The Joint Declaration approved in the Summit affirms the commitment of the two governments to develop a strategic partnership. It will also focus on sectors such as defence, cybersecurity, space and energy.

A connection was also identified between the Indo-Pacific and Mediterranean. India plays a leading role in the Indo-Pacific. Italy is a front-line player in the enlarged Mediterranean in terms of energy security, investments and commerce.

The link between the two areas will be strengthened in the fields of maritime and digital connectivity and security.

Finally, Italy announced its full support to the Indian Presidency of the G20.  It will contribute to the issues that were at the centre of Italy’s G20 Presidency in 2021. This includes debt service suspension, special drawing rights, finance and health track, and balance sheet optimisation of multilateral banks

Prime Minister Meloni and Prime Minister Modi have also expressed their commitment to enhancing the European-Indian strategic partnership.

They also supported the ongoing negotiations for Free Trade Agreements and agreements on investment protection and geographical indication protection.

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