India and Italy: Friends in a turbulent world
Why in 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 were the major developments during the summit?
- The Joint Declaration approved at 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 the 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.
What is the history of the India-Italy relationship?
- Political Relations – Political relations between India and Italy were established in 1947. A total of 15 MoUs covering areas like energy, media, finance, and shipbuilding were signed in the 2020 Summit.
- Economic Relations– Italy is among India’s top 5 trading partners in the EU. Italy ranks 18th in FDI inflows in India from April 2000 to December 2020 with an FDI inflow of US $ 3.02 billion during this period.
- Italy and India have already intensified their collaboration, bringing bilateral trade to a record figure of around 15 billion euros in 2022, doubling the figure recorded in 2020.
- India ranks 19th as the country of origin of Italian imports, accounting for 1.2% of Italian imports.
- Defence – Milan – a biennial naval exercise between India and Italy.
- Indian Naval Ship (INS) Tabar, the Navy’s Talwar-class Russian-built frigate, has just concluded a two-day naval exercise with the Italian Navy in the Tyrrhenian Sea.
- India – Italy Military Cooperation Group (MCG) is a forum established to boost defence cooperation between India and Italy.
- Cultural Exchange – The agreement for cultural cooperation was signed in 1976.
- There are around 10 Universities/higher education institutions in Italy with highly qualified faculties which conduct courses in Indian art, history and languages.
- Science and Technology – An Agreement on S&T Co-operation exists since 1978.
- A significant bilateral initiative under the S&T Cooperation Agreement is the India-Trento Programme for Advanced Research (ITPAR)
- Indian Community in Italy– The Indian community in Italy (estimated at 2.5 lakhs including PIOs) is the third largest community of Indians in Europe after the UK and the Netherlands.
- The Indian community is the 5th largest foreign community in Italy.
What are the recent developments in the India-Italy relationship?
- The elevation of bilateral relations to a strategic partnership has been established for the first time in 2023.
- In recent years, Italy has joined all the multilateral initiatives promoted by India, from the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)to the Coalition for Disaster Relief Infrastructure (CDRI), to the International Solar Alliance.
- The European-Indian strategic partnership aims to support the ongoing negotiations for Free Trade Agreements and agreements on investment protection and geographical indication protection.
- In scientific research and technology, the partnership between the two countries has registered the launch of 13 new joint projects.
- Mobility: There is a significant increase in the flow of Indian students and workers in Italy with the Indian community exceeding a figure of 2,00,000 — the highest in the European Union.