New Delhi: Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni accompanied by Mrs. Emanuela Mauro Gentiloni arrived in India on Sunday at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The last visit of the Italian Prime Minister to India was in February 2007.
Coming after a gap of more than a decade, the visit is aimed at strengthening the bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries.
The two sides will look at strengthening the bilateral political and economic relations. Announcing the visit, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the prime ministerial trip from Italy was happening after more than a decade. The last visit of an Italian prime minister to India was in February 2007.
A 15-member Italian CEO delegation will be accompanying the official delegation. Interaction between the CEOs of the two countries is also being planned. Over 600 Italian companies are active in India covering various sectors such as fashion, garments, textile and textile machinery, automotive, automotive components industry, infrastructure, chemicals, energy, confectionary, insurance etc. A number of Indian companies are also present in Italy mainly in IT, electronics, engineering, automotive, pharmaceuticals and railway sectors.
According to DGFT data, Italy is India’s 5th largest trading partner in the EU with a bilateral trade at $8.79 billion in 2016-17. India’s exports to Italy are at $4.90 billion, while its imports are at $3.89 billion, resulting in a trade balance of $1 billion in favour of India. In the first four months of fiscal 2017-18, bilateral trade has reached $3.22 billion.
According to DIPP data, Italy is the 13th largest investor in India with cumulative investments worth US$ 2.41 billion over the period April 2000 – June 2017. The top five sectors in India that attract Italian FDI are automotive industry, trading, service sector, industrial machinery and food processing industry.
In the EU, Italy has the third largest presence of Indian community (estimated at 180,000) after the UK and the Netherlands.
The bilateral ties between both the countries were hit badly after two Italian marines — Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone — on board a ship named Enrica Lexie, were arrested for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.