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India, Italy Upgrade Relations To Strategic Level

Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) with his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni in New Delhi on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) with his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni in New Delhi on Thursday.

NEW DELHI: Green energy and digital revolution are the two key transitions that are going to dramatically transform the world, believes Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Delivering the keynote address to inaugurate the eighth edition of the Raisina Dialogue, the annual flagship event jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation on Thursday, Meloni also stressed the importance of a country’s roots and traditions, saying these two things defined every nation. “We are nothing without our roots, she said.

While the green energy transition was transforming the world, “data is the energy of our digital societies,” she said. And this data, she said, would flow from India to Europe. “The Blue Raman project will link the Indo-Pacific to our European economies,” she said, referring to a proposed intercontinental fibre optics cable system which will connect India to France via Oman, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Greece and Italy.

Touching on the events in Ukraine, she said she had visited the Ukrainian capital Kiev a week ago and that Russia’s invasion of the country violated not only the territorial integrity of Ukraine but also violated one of the fundamental principles of world order. The joint statement issued after the meeting reflected a politically correct position that suits both countries. “Italy and India called for the cessation of hostilities and expressed their serious concern about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine”.

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Meloni, who arrived in New Delhi on Thursday morning, was given the traditional ceremonial reception and guard of honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan, had a brief interaction with President Droupadi Murmu and visited Rajghat to lay a wreath at Gandhiji’s samadhi before heading for Hyderabad House with her high-powered delegation for discussions with the Indian side led by Prime Minister Modi.

Post the meeting, Modi welcomed Meloni’s maiden visit to India and noted that the two nations were celebrating 75 years of bilateral relationship this year. Apart from renewable energy, IT, hydrogen, telecom, semiconductors and space, there were also opportunities for joint ventures in the defence sector, which would benefit both nations, he said, adding that the armed forces of the two nations would conduct regular training courses and joint military exercises. And anti-terrorism drills. He also announced the establishment of ‘Startup Bridge’ between the two nations.

A release issued after the talks said that with a view to further deepening bilateral collaboration, the two leaders decided to upgrade the relation to a ‘strategic partnership’.

The two countries also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the fields of migration and mobility in order to counter irregular migration and human trafficking, and promote fair working conditions which addressed the needs of their respective economies.

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In a career spanning over three decades and counting, I’ve been the Foreign Editor of The Telegraph, Outlook Magazine and The New Indian Express. I helped set up rediff.com’s editorial operations in San Jose and New York, helmed sify.com, and was the founder editor of India.com.

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