- The joint statement released after the talks said that Italy strongly condemned the Russian military's illegal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
- Joint exercises were done in this area to better prepare our systems to deal with these kinds of problems wherever they happened in the world.
India and Italy announced on Thursday that they were raising their relationship to the level of strategic partnership and signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation. This meant that the chill in their relationship over the last few years was over, which Foreign Secretary Vinay M. Kwatra called “legacy issues” that were no longer important.
After having bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said that she hoped India’s G20 Presidency could help “facilitate a negotiation process for the cessation of hostilities” in Ukraine.
“We are announcing today that a “Startup Bridge” will be built between India and Italy. Defense is another important area where we work together. “We have also decided to hold joint military exercises and training courses on a regular basis,” Mr. Modi said in a joint press statement after the talks.
Mr. Kwatra talked about the outcome of the bilateral talks and the MoU for defence cooperation. He said, “In terms of sub-sectors within, it is clear that with legacy issues behind us, the door is now open for industries on the two sides to cooperate more strongly in this area, especially in the field of manufacturing, co-production, co-design, and co-innovation, military exercises to be expanded and deepened to all levels of the armed forces, and maritime cooperation.”
Mr. Modi said that Italy had decided to join the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative. He said this because he liked how active Italy was in the Indo-Pacific (IPOI). “This will help us figure out specific ways to work together better in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
The two countries also signed a Declaration of Intent (DOI) on migration and mobility. Mr. Modi said that once the settlements were in place, it would be the start of a new era of cooperation between the two countries in many areas, especially education.
In her statement, Ms. Meloni said that India could do a lot for the interests of the global south while it was in charge of the G20. She said about the situation in Ukraine, “We hope that India’s G20 Presidency can play a central role in facilitating negotiations for a peaceful end to the fighting in Ukraine.” It’s important to keep the multilateral community united, and we hope the Indian Presidency can do even more.”
In this way, Ms. Meloni promised that the upcoming G20 summit would have full support from Italy. “PM Modi knows he can count on us, our cooperation, and our full support for the upcoming G20 summit and to make our relationship even better. I’m sure that there are many things we can do together,” she said.
Mr. Modi asked Italy to join the “Make in India” and “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” projects, and both leaders put a lot of attention on renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, telecom, space, and other areas.
The joint statement released after the talks said that Italy strongly condemned the Russian military’s illegal and unprovoked attack on Ukraine. “Italy and India called for an end to the fighting and said they were very worried about the situation in Ukraine. The two Prime Ministers talked about how the conflict in Ukraine is causing instability and what its wider regional and global effects are.
Strategic areas of cooperation
In addition to defence, Mr. Kwatra named space, cyberspace, and the sea as specific strategic areas for cooperation. He said that work would now begin to find specific proposals for cooperation. He also said that Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) was another area. Joint exercises were done in this area to better prepare our systems to deal with these kinds of problems wherever they happened in the world.
Both leaders also talked about how trade between their countries was growing and had reached a record $15 billion last year. As part of the talks, business delegations from both sides met for a CEO roundtable.