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India looking for Port investment deals with global shipping power Greece

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NEW DELHI : India and Greece are looking to deepen cooperation in Defence and Shipping, after raising their bilateral relationship to the level of a strategic partnership, according to sources.

The two sides are discussing defence sales by India to Greece, in line with New Delhi’s goal of tripling defence exports to $5 billion over the next few years.

In addition, India is looking to cooperate with Greece in shipping and naval modernization. New Delhi is interested in the possibility of Indian companies investing in Greek ports while also inviting Greece to look into commercial opportunities in shipping under the Make-in-India Programme, the persons cited above said.

Queries mailed to the Embassy of Greece and the ministry of external affairs went unanswered at press time. This comes after Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s visit to Greece last year, the first by an Indian premier since 1983.

“Both leaders reiterated the need for further broadening and deepening bilateral engagements, in the field of defence, shipping, science and technology, cyber space, education, culture, tourism and agriculture,” the two countries said in a joint statement after Modi met with his Greek counterpart Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in August.

India’s focus on Greece comes as part of its push to develop stronger ties with Mediterranean and central European powers. Greece is also expected to be a key part of India’s efforts to improve trade and connectivity with Europe. Greek firms are major players in global merchant shipping, with the country’s shipowners owning a fifth of the world’s shipping fleet and almost 60% of the EU’s fleet, according to the International Trade Administration, a US government agency. This explains India’s interest in deepening cooperation on shipping and maritime trade by attracting investments from Greece. The persons cited above said Greece could help India with modernizing its shipping vessels.

The country is also set to be a key player in the India-Middle East Economic Corridor (IMEC), which will help facilitate Indian goods exports to European markets. Defence has also been an important segment of the bilateral relationship since the 1990s.

In 2023, India’s Air Force took part in the multinational air exercise INIOCHOS-23, which was hosted by the Greek Air Force. In July 2023, the INS Chennai conducted a ‘passage exercise’ with a Greek naval ship in the Aegean Sea. India has also sent observers to naval exercises in Greece. Mitsotakis is expected to visit India this month as chief guest for the Raisina Dialogue.

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