Importance of Greek PM Mitsotakis’ State visit to India

In a diplomatic move, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is set to visit New Delhi to attend the Raisina Dialogue as a chief guest from February 21 to 23. It would be the first visit by a head of state of Greece to India after a gap of 15 years.

Over the years, India’s reach in the Mediterranean has gained momentum and this visit is significant as the port of Piraeus, Greece is considered a potential hub under the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) to enhance connectivity and trade.

The visit also comes against the backdrop of strained relations between Turkey and Greece in the Mediterranean Sea and over the Cyprus issue. In a way, Greeceneeds global support, and nothing could be better than strengthening ties with India, the one country that many other nations in the region are looking at .

The visit of the Greek Prime Minister is not only important in the context of IMEC but also from a bilateral point of view. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Greece very recently and this took bilateral relations to a much higher level. Further, there are problems between Greece and Turkey and as is well known, Turkey interferes in the affairs of South Asia. In the context of Turkey’s rapprochement with Pakistan, the Kashmir issue at the United Nationsand its continued engagement with internal affairs and the rapprochement of other countries such as Bangladesh, it is very important for India to reach out to Greece to maintain the presence us in this particular area”. Whether it is bilateral issues or enhancing connectivity through IMEC, this visit of the Greek Prime Minister is extremely important. It is also important because of Greece’s geographical location and not only is it part of the EU but also has a presence in the Mediterranean.

Greece has an important role as a starting point for India’s corridor to the Middle East and Europe. India Middle East Europe Corridor is a “game changer” in terms of connectivity because most of the connectivity projects are initiated or controlled by China, especially the BRI. IMEC is the project in which India recreates the old spice route. This is how spices were traded from India to the Arab world, Venice and Europe and it was before the sea route was discovered by Vasco Da Gama in 1498. IMEC is the re-creation of historical links and all countries. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Greece, Italy or Israel are very keen on this route. In terms of geopolitical and geostrategic issues, IMEC has much more potential than shipping goods and cargo through the Red Sea and the Swiss Canal. It would be a multi-modal transit project that would meet the needs and requirements of all countries along the route and help the supply chain function better.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Greece in August 2023, elevated the ties to a strategic partnership and the relationship has seen progress in various areas, from connectivity to maritime cooperation.

In recent years, the India-Greece defense partnership has seen tremendous growth. It is worth noting that the active participation of the Indian Air Force in the multinational air exercise HNIOHOS-23, hosted by the Hellenic Air Force, demonstrated the growing cooperation in defense capabilities.

India and Greece share similar views on the issue of Kashmir and Cyprus. Greece supports India’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council and has reiterated its support for India in various global forums.

A highlight of the visit will be Mitsotakis’s role as the Chief Guest and Keynote Speaker at the 9th Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, underscoring the importance of Greece-India relations on the global stage. The focus of the Greek Prime Minister’s visit is expected to be the deepening of business ties. The Greek Prime Minister will not only meet Prime Minister Modi, but the business delegation accompanying him will visit Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The aim of the business delegation is to strengthen relations between India and Greece in areas such as tourism, energy, medicine and logistics. In the last 9-10 years, India has been focusing on small countries and Greece is one of them. India and Greece have good bilateral relations and their presence in the European Union further strengthens the ties. The Ministry of External Affairs highlighted that both countries have been cooperating closely in multilateral forums and have a convergence of views on regional and global issues. The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Mitsotakis is anticipated to further strengthen and deepen the strategic partnership between India and Greece, opening new avenues for collaboration and mutual benefit.