India, Italy to elevate ties to Strategic Partnership

    0
    646

    In News

    • Recently, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited India after a gap of nearly five years.

    Outcomes:

    • The two countries have decided to take the relationship forward by elevating India?Italy partnership to the level of strategic partnership
    • Identifying defence as an important pillar in the relationship, both countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation.The MOU focuses on three areas:
      • Strong cooperation in the fields of manufacturing, co-production, co-design, co-innovation. 
      • expansion and deepening of military exercises  to all levels in the armed forces
      • maritime cooperation
    • A Declaration of Intent was signed between the two countries on the migration and mobility partnership agreement.
    • Italy joined the IPOI, Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative,signalling the need for stronger co-operation in the indo-Pacific.
    • Both nations announced  a start-up bridge to give momentum to economic ties

    India-Italy Bilateral Relations 

    • About:
      • India and Italy are ancient civilizations but young states. Based on common interests like rule based international order, India and Italy have enjoyed a cordial relationship.
    • Diplomatic: 
      • Political relations between India and Italy were established in 1947.
      • The two countries enjoy cordial relationships. There has been a regular exchange of visits at political and official levels between both countries.
      • Italy has supported India’s membership to export control regimes like the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group.
    • Trade and Investment:
      • Italy is among India’s top 5 trading partners in the EU. The balance of trade has been in India’s favour since the early eighties. 
      •  In 2021, the two countries inked a Strategic Partnership on Energy Transition to advanced collaboration on areas like green hydrogen and biofuels.
      • India invited Italy to partner in ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ with a focus on the areas of renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, telecom, and space among others.  
      • Italy also joined the successful India-France led International Solar Alliance comprising over 90 members.
    • Cultural Exchange:
      • The agreement for cultural cooperation was signed in 1976. 
      • It was replaced by a new Agreement in July 2004. 
      • The Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) between Italy and India entails exchange of students in language programmes as well as other academic courses.
    • Scientific Cooperation:
      • An Agreement on S&T Co-operation has existed since 1978. 
      • The Agreement envisages three yearly action plans under which a maximum of thirty joint research projects can be undertaken. 
      • This agreement was replaced by one signed in Nov 2003.
      • India-Italy Science and Technology Cooperation(JSTC) has been actively promoting cooperation through joint project proposals.
    • Defence:
      • Defence cooperation has traditionally been an important pillar of India-Italy relations. An MOU on Defence Cooperation was signed in November 1994.
      • The Indian Army has a historical connection with Italy.
      • India also welcomed Italy’s engagement in the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Italy’s new status as a Development Partner of ASEAN
      • The navies of both countries  regularly co-operate in anti-piracy missions.

    Significance

    • Italy is among India’s top 5 trading partners in the EU(currently fourth). The balance of trade has been in India’s favour since the early eighties.
    • Italy is an export-oriented economy and Europe’s second largest manufacturer, for whom secure supply chains and maritime routes linking Asia to Europe and rules-based trade are important. India as a strong power in indo-pacific can use it to her advantage.
    • Hedge against china: current italian government has raised concerns regarding china. India can utilise Italy to influence the EU.

    Issues

    • Lack of separate Frame works:India does not have a separate trade agreement with Italy like it has for England . engagement with Italy is under the umbrella of EU
    • Saddled by incidents: Incidents like treatment of Italian Marines, Cancellation of VVIP chopper deal have worn down the relationship.

    Way Forward

    • India’s partnership with Italy is gaining strength on all levels—political, economic, and strategic. PM Meloni’s recent  visit would further boost ties while also adding fodder to the reinvigorated EU-India partnership. For India-Italy relations, the future is likely to be bright and progressive.

    India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)

    • It is an open, non-treaty based initiative for countries to work together for cooperative and collaborative solutions to common challenges in the region.It was first suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 14th East Asian Summit.
    • It draws on existing regional architecture and mechanisms to focus on seven pillars:
      • Maritime Security
      • Maritime Ecology
      • Maritime Resources
      • Capacity Building and Resource Sharing
      • Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
      • Science, Technology and Academic Cooperation
      • Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport

    Source:TH