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China’s ‘ally’ Greece aligns with India for a ‘free’ Indo-Pacific

Source : Times of India

EAM S Jaishankar and his Greek counterpart Nikon Dendias (Image Credits: Twitter)



Greece, which has developed close ties with China, even allowing China to operate the Piraeus port, on Saturday signed on to the Indo-Pacific vision, aligning with India. As foreign minister S Jaishankar met his Greek counterpart Nikon Dendias in a bilateral visit that happened after 18 years, the two leaders discussed “geo-political and geo-economic realities, including the Indo-Pacific”. An official readout said the two countries acknowledged “the convergence of each others’ vision for a free, open, inclusive and cooperative Indo-Pacific ensuring connectivity and growth for the region.”

This was a significant outcome from India’s perspective. Greece has been an important linchpin for China’s BRI in Europe. China’s shipping firm Cosco took a majority stake in Piraeus 2016. The port is at a strategic location between the Asian and European continents.

An official MEA readout said Greece became an official signatory to the International Solar Alliance (ISA), with the Greek foreign minister submitting the agreement to the Indian side, and was “welcomed to the family of the ISA”. “Both sides agreed that this will assist the two countries in realisation of the energy goals set by the respective governments to make renewable energy a significant part of the energy supply After the India-Europe summit, India is getting down to the business of engaging almost every member of the EU.

Jaishankar also called on Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis and conveyed greetings on the 200th anniversary of Greek independence. He also unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Athens. The discussions, said the MEA statement, covered trade and investment, and ongoing cooperation in science and tech, culture, academics etc. India is keen to restart formal negotiations on an FTA with Europe, and all member countries would have to sign off on it. Therefore, its important, according to sources for India and Greece to begin discussions to elevate the relationship to a strategic partnership

The ministers discussed the recent developments pertaining to Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Libya. Both sides agreed on the importance of rule of law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity; recognised the threat posed by radicalisation, violent extremism, as well as terrorism, including cross border terrorism.

Multilateral and a rules based international order was also emphasised “so as to make them more inclusive, transparent, accountable, and better reflective of contemporary geopolitical realities.” MEA said Greece “reiterated its support for permanent membership of India in a reformed UNSC.”

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