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India and Italy: Friends in a turbulent world

On the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and India, the summit on March 2 of this year between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked a turning point in the relations between our two countries.

The elevation of bilateral relations to a strategic partnership has been established for the first time. In recent years, 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. Just in 2020, a five-year action plan has been adopted, with a well-defined range of priorities: Energy transition, food processing, advanced manufacturing, the creative industry and infrastructure of various kinds. 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.

Italy and India have also further enhanced collaboration in the cultural field, on the heritage front as well as in the creative industry — fashion, design, cinema, etc. Moreover, in scientific research and technology, the partnership between the two countries has registered the launch of 13 new joint projects. Also in the last few years, in terms of mobility, we have witnessed a significant increase in the flow of Indian students and workers in Italy where an Indian community that exceeds a figure of 2,00,000 — the highest in the European Union — is already actively operating in the Italian economy.

In the health sector, during the pandemic, our two countries have collaborated since the beginning with the exchange of experiences and practices, with humanitarian initiatives, and we have also promoted joint research projects.

Now, the Joint Declaration approved in the last Summit affirms the commitment of the two governments to develop a strategic partnership that will also focus on sectors such as defence, cybersecurity, space and energy. The enhancement of our relationship is part of a common vision for an Indo-Pacific based on respect for international law, freedom of navigation and territorial integrity. From this point of view, a connection was also identified between the Indo-Pacific, in which India plays a leading role, and the enlarged Mediterranean where Italy is a front-line player in terms of energy security, investments and commerce.

The link between the two areas will become increasingly substantiated in the fields of maritime and digital connectivity and security.

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