Athens | India and Greece on Friday elevated their ties to the level of strategic partnership, vowed to double bilateral trade by 2030 and agreed to firm up a migration and mobility pact soon during wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Modi, who arrived here from Johannesburg in the first visit to Greece by an Indian prime minister in 40 years, said both sides decided to expand cooperation in areas of defence and security, infrastructure, agriculture, education and new and emerging technologies.
In reflection of their growing congruence in areas of defence and security, the two sides also agreed to have an institutional dialogue framework at the level of national security advisors.
Flanked by Mitsotakis, Modi said in his media statement that both India and Greece support diplomacy and dialogue to resolve the Ukraine crisis, adding both sides have "excellent coordination" on geopolitical, international and regional issues including that of the Indo-Pacific. He said it was agreed that there should be an institutional dialogue framework between India and Greece at the level of national security advisors.
On his part, Mitsotakis said both sides are ready to move forward to deal with various challenges, "especially in a period of upheaval and war in Ukraine".
The two sides also discussed mutual cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism and cyber security. An agreement on agricultural cooperation was also signed following the talks.
The discussions covered digital payments, shipping, pharma, tourism, culture, education and people to people ties.
The two leaders also deliberated on regional and multilateral issues, including the European Union, Indo-Pacific and the Mediterranean, and called for respect of international law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Describing India and Greece as a "natural match", Modi said a migration and mobility partnership agreement will be inked "soon" to facilitate skilled migration between the two countries.
"After a long gap of 40 years, an Indian prime minister has come to Greece. Yet, neither the depth of our relations has diminished, nor has there been any decrease in the warmth of our relations," he said.
"Therefore, today the prime minister and I have decided to take the India-Greece partnership to a strategic partnership level," he said.
"We have decided that we will strengthen our strategic partnership by increasing our cooperation in the fields of defence and security, infrastructure, agriculture, education, new and emerging technology and skill development.
In the area of defence and security, Modi said both sides agreed to give a boost to defence industries, along with military-to-military ties.
"We decided that there should be an institutional platform for dialogue even at the level of our National Security Advisors," Modi said.
"The prime minister and I agree that our bilateral trade is growing rapidly and there is immense potential for further growth. Therefore, we have set a target of doubling our bilateral trade by the year 2030," he added.
Modi said both sides believed that by encouraging trade and investment, the bilateral industrial and economic cooperation can be taken to a new level.
"We also discussed national and international issues. Greece expressed its support for the India-EU trade and investment agreement," Modi said.
"In the case of Ukraine, both countries support diplomacy and dialogue," he said.
The prime minister said he is grateful to his Greek counterpart for his "good wishes and encouragement" regarding India's presidency of the G20.
Modi also thanked people of Greece and the country's President Katerina N Sakellaropoulou for awarding him with the Grand Cross of the Order of Honour award.
The MEA said Mitsotakis congratulated Modi on the success of the Chandrayaan mission, terming it as a success for humanity.