Italian PM begins India visit with focus on Indo-Pacific

New Delhi, Mar 2 (EFE).- Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Thursday arrived in New Delhi for an official visit which is expected to help New Delhi and Rome provide impetus to their alliance in the Indo-Pacific region and revive bilateral ties which have been affected by tensions in the past.

The far-right leader was received with state honors by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an event in the Indian capital ahead of the bilateral meetings.

In a brief statement, Meloni thanked Modi for the reception, and said that the meetings – which also mark the 75th anniversary of bilateral ties between the two sides – will help strengthen relations,

In the subsequent encounter, the Indian and Italian PMs discussed a wide-ranging agenda including “political, trade & economic, defense, science & technology, energy, health, consular and cultural spheres,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted.

Bagchi said that the leaders would exchange views on “taking the multifaceted bilateral ties forward with mutual commitment to foster growth, widen collaboration in various fields and deepen convergences on regional & global issues.”

The Italian prime minister is in India as the guest of honor for the Raisina Dialogue, India’s annual geopolitical conference, jointly organized by the ministry of foreign affairs and the think-tank Observer Research Foundation.

Meloni would also use the occasion to show Italy’s commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, where India is one of its main trade allies.

This is the first India visit of an Italian PM since 2018, when former PM Giuseppe Conte traveled to New Delhi to meet Modi.

Bilateral ties between the two sides were seriously affected in 2012 when India tried to prosecute two Italian solders for killing two Indian fishermen, an incident that triggered a five-year long arbitration process.

Although the International Court of Justice at the Hague ruled that Italy had violated the freedom of navigation and had to compensate India for the loss of lives, it rejected New Delhi’s petition to prosecute the Italian personnel for the deaths.

The case caused a bilateral diplomatic crisis when India banned the Italian ambassador from leaving the country to force Rome to hand over the soldiers. EFE


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