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13th Foreign Office Consultations between India and Greece Held in Athens

The 13th round of the Foreign Office Consultations was held in Athens between India and Greece on Wednesday, June 14, 2023. During the meeting, both parties discussed boosting collaboration in defence, trade, mobility areas, culture, and people-to-people ties, including the Ukraine crisis and UNSC reforms. Ambassador Haris Lalacos, Secretary General of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Shri Sanjay Verma, Secretary (West), Ministries of External Affairs, co-chaired the meeting.

Wednesday saw the following tweet from MEA Secretary (West) Sanjay Verma, where he tweeted that he was pleased to co-chair the 13th FOC with his Greek counterpart, Sec Gen @Hlalacos, in Athens. There were meaningful discussions of trends on the regional and global levels as well as in the fields of trade, defence, culture, consular, and mobility, and the relationships strengthened.

Both parties acknowledged during the meetings that bilateral trade has been growing steadily and decided to diversify into other markets. According to an MEA announcement, regular bilateral political contacts are crucial for further fortifying ties between the two nations.

The war in Ukraine, the G20 presidency of India, collaboration in multilateral fora, UNSC reforms, and developments in their respective neighborhoods were among the regional and global concerns that the two sides also discussed.

The Foreign Office consultations are projected to give bilateral relations more vigor. According to the official statement, the following session will take place in New Delhi in 2024 on a mutually advantageous date.

In May 1950, India and Greece developed diplomatic ties. In March 1978, India opened its permanent embassy in Athens. Greece and India have been cooperating for a long time. At present, the two nations share a cordial relationship, which is an alliance founded on a shared commitment to international peace, democracy, and development as well as a just and equalizing social structure. India and Greece also take similar stances on a variety of world issues, including UN reform and Cyprus. Greece has continuously backed India’s primary international relations goals.

The MoUs on the Declaration of Intent on Migration and Mobility and the Cultural and Educational Exchange Programme for the Years 2022–2026 were executed during the visit of Greek Foreign Minister Mr. Dendias to India.

Some of the agreements are being processed. The National Quality Infrastructure System/Hellenic Accreditation System, Greece, and the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) on Technical Cooperation, India, are the parties to the agreements or MoUs now being negotiated: the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in criminal issues; gainful employment of spouses and eligible dependents of members of diplomatic missions or consulates; agreement on avoidance of double taxation; cooperation in the field of agriculture (finalised and ready for signing); extradition treaty

Both nations have actively collaborated in various activities and agreements in the defence sector. Recently, from April 24 to May 4, 2023, the Hellenic Air Force hosted the multinational air exercise INIOCHOS-23 at the Andravida Air Base in Greece. With four Su-30 MKI and two C-17 aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) took part in the exercise.