Greece and India agreed to work to strengthen bilateral ties and work towards a strategic partnership during the visit of Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Athens on Saturday.

“We have a comfortable relationship, but so far not an ambitious relationship,” Jaishankar said. “There is much more we can do.” His visit to Greece is the first by an Indian foreign minister in 18 years.

The Indian top diplomat had a meeting with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said that Greece and India emphasized the importance they attach to international law, the law of the sea and the principles of the United Nations.

Mitsotakis said that Greece considers relations with India to be of great importance, noting that Greece and India were both countries with civilizations that stretched back many centuries.

“India is a country that I have personally visited many times. I have the greatest admiration for the world’s largest democracy,” Mitsotakis stressed.

Earlier, during a meeting between Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Indian counterpart, there was a discussion on the prospects of establishing strategic cooperation in an area of mutual interest that the two countries will choose in order to give a new boost to bilateral relations.

Greece and India also discussed the recent developments pertaining to the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Libya.

Analysts say that Greece which is facing Turkish provocations in the region is keen to enlist the support of India, which is at odds on a number of issues with Pakistan, a close ally of Turkey.

Greece an important EU member says India

Jaishankar said that the bilateral connection between Greece and India was one aspect but a broader framework was India’s relationship with the EU, which was making progress as a whole.

“You are an important member-state with the influence, I should say, to support us within the EU. At the same time, you are also, in many ways, a meeting point between many of our relations in Eastern Europe and Russia on the one hand and the EU on the other hand,” he said.

“We have a strong interest in the Gulf and the Middle East. Examining all this strategically, I would say there are many, many aspects of this relationship that we must explore more fully and I hope that during my stay we will be able to achieve this,” he added.

In addition, they announced that Greece will join the International Solar Alliance, an Indian initiative. The group is an alliance of 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

During his visit to Athens, Jaishankar unveiled a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi. “The statue will act as a strong symbol of friendship between the two countries,” the Indian Foreign Minister said.

Source: Greek Reporter