The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, welcomed the Italian PM, Giorgia Meloni, as she arrived in India for a two-day visit to raise bilateral relations ahead of the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting in New Delhi on March 2, 2023. PM Meloni was the Guest of Honour for Raisina Dialogue 2023, India’s flagship annual geopolitical conference, co-hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation. This conference focused on geopolitics and geoeconomics and has participation from heads of state, leaders, researchers, ministers, journalists, and academics addressing issues of global importance. While the Italian PM was in India, Meloni and Modi announced the upgrade of relations between the two countries to strategic partnership.
Mr. Modi acknowledged Italy’s participation in the Indo-Pacific Initiative and mentioned how it would enable the identification of themes and patterns for enhancing cooperation in the region. Modi also mentioned the connections between people from both countries and how that can help in deepening and strengthening the relations further. He also discussed the mutual discussions and settlements for mobility and migration between Italy and India, which will usher in various areas of mutual cooperation with a special focus on education.
While addressing a press conference together, Mr. Modi and Italian PM Meloni spoke about the digital transition, emerging technologies, space, and cybersecurity as strategic areas that will help in contributing to each others countries. It was further mentioned that this was the first visit by an Italian Prime Minister in the last five years. PM Meloni also assured of full support and cooperation for the upcoming G20 summit and in regards to any peace processes.
PM Modi and PM Meloni were also present while the G20 Foreign ministers met in New Delhi, where discussions were dominated by Russia’s year-long war in Ukraine. PM Meloni encouraged the Indian PM, as the G20 President, to facilitate the path towards ‘just peace ‘ in Ukraine. PM Meloni further extended her support, stressing the facilitation of negotiations towards justice and a ceasefire, fully acknowledging Kyiv’s territorial integrity.
PM Modi cleared India’s stance of being ready to contribute to any peace process through dialogue and diplomacy. PM Meloni stressed the role and importance of India in representing the interests of the global south and keeping the multilateral community united. Meloni highlighted the interconnectedness of Europe and the Indo-Pacific region while mentioning ways to strengthen that relationship.
The bilateral meeting was held between the Heads of State of India and Italy to mark 75 years since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations and celebrate the new phase of the Indo-Italian relationship. There has not always been a smooth relationship between the two countries, but it has improved over the years. Therefore, Meloni’s government is leveraging the groundwork laid by its predecessor to deepen Indo-Italian ties.
The ever-growing interest of Italy in the Indo-Pacific region continues to grow and can have a significant impact on global geopolitical dynamics as well as European and transatlantic interests. The strategic partnership is deemed to have education and defence cooperation as crucial aspects of their relations. Italy’s interest in getting involved with India goes beyond its geopolitical considerations and must also include its strong business rationale, a big stage of opportunities, and an unexplored market providing unlimited opportunities for the Italian companies. The focus on domestic manufacturing will provide an opportunity for Italian companies to form partnerships and provide support in the supply chain to India.
Moreover, India has also expressed an increased interest in having closer relations with the EU, as India views the European strategy as complementary to its vision of the Indo-Pacific and will take help from Italy to offer support to an India-centric EU strategy for collaboration in the Indo-Pacific.