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PM Modi to travel to Italy this week for G7 Summit in 1st trip abroad in 3rd term; revisiting India-Italy ties

The G7 Summit, scheduled to take place at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia in Italy's Apulia region from June 13 to 15, is expected to be dominated by discussions on the ongoing war in Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza.

PM Modi to travel to Italy this week for G7 Summit in 1st trip abroad in 3rd term; revisiting India-Italy ties snt
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First Published Jun 12, 2024, 10:44 AM IST

In his first trip abroad after assuming office for the third straight term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to attend the G7 Summit in Puglia, Italy on June 14, following an invitation from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. This marks India's 11th participation and PM Modi's fifth attendance at the G7 Outreach sessions, reflecting the growing importance of India on the global stage.

The G7 Summit, scheduled to take place at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia in Italy's Apulia region from June 13 to 15, is expected to be dominated by discussions on the ongoing war in Ukraine and the conflict in Gaza.

US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among the top leaders attending the summit.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also scheduled to participate in a session focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sources familiar with PM Modi's planned trip to Italy stated that he is set to depart on June 13 and return late on June 14. 

PM Modi is expected to be accompanied by a high-level delegation likely to include External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, according to sources.

The prime minister is scheduled to hold several bilateral meetings, including one with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

PM Modi attended the previous G7 summit in Hiroshima in May last year. During the summit, he held talks with Zelenskyy and several other leaders on the sidelines.

India-Italy bilateral ties

 

India and Italy share a robust relationship underscored by historic ties and mutual commitment to democracy, rule of law, and inclusive economic growth. Last year marked 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations. The relationship was further solidified during PM Modi's visit to Italy for the G20 Summit in October 2021 and PM Meloni's state visit to India in March 2023. During her visit, bilateral relations were upgraded to a 'Strategic Partnership' focusing on defense, the Indo-Pacific region, energy, and science & technology.

Several high-level engagements have taken place since, with numerous Italian ministers visiting India for G20-related meetings and bilateral discussions. Indian ministers have reciprocated with visits to Italy in 2024. The Virtual Summit in November 2020 between PM Modi and former Italian PM Conte saw the adoption of an ambitious Action Plan 2020-2024, enhancing partnership in key areas.

India-Italy economic engagement

Economic ties between India and Italy are strong, with bilateral trade reaching $15 billion in 2022-23. India is Italy's fourth-largest trading partner in the EU, with major exports including iron and steel, telecom instruments, and petroleum products. Indian investments in Italy amount to around USD 400 million, with notable companies like TCS, Mahindra, and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories operating there.

Italy has been a significant investor in India, ranking 18th with a cumulative FDI inflow of USD 3.53 billion. Over 700 Italian companies are active in India, employing around 60,000 people and generating a turnover of 9.7 billion euros. Collaborative projects like the Italian Excellence Platform in Gujarat and successful ventures such as Ferrero in India and Mahindra in Pininfarina highlight the strong economic partnership.

Science and Technology cooperation

Bilateral cooperation in science and technology is longstanding, with significant joint projects and funding initiatives. Under the Executive Programme of Cooperation for 2022-24, India and Italy are jointly funding several projects in biomedical sciences and technologies applied to cultural and natural heritage. ISRO has launched five satellites from Italy, and Indian scientists extensively use the Synchrotron facility at Elettra, Trieste.

Defence and cultural ties

Defence cooperation between India and Italy has been bolstered by a MoU signed during the RM visit to Italy in October 2023. The Joint Defence Committee and Military Cooperation Group meetings were held in March 2024. Historical ties are also remembered, with the significant contribution of the Indian Army in liberating Italian cities during World War II.

With an estimated diaspora of 200,000, Indians form the second-largest foreign community in Italy. The Migration and Mobility Agreement signed in October 2023 facilitates the movement of skilled workers and students. Italy's rich Indological tradition sees many Italians engaged in Indian culture, languages, and practices like yoga and Ayurveda.

The G7, comprising the US, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, and Japan, is currently under Italy's presidency. This year, Italy is hosting the summit with a key focus on defending the rules-based international system. Italy asserts that Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine has undermined these principles, leading to increased instability and multiple global crises.

The G7 will also address the conflict in the Middle East and its impact on the global agenda.

The group expanded to include Russia from 1997 to 2013, becoming the G8. However, Russia's participation was suspended in 2014 following its annexation of Crimea.

Following tradition, the host nation, which holds the chair, invites representatives from several countries and international organizations to the summit. In addition to India, Italy has invited leaders from 11 developing countries in Africa, South America, and the Indo-Pacific region.

Although the European Union is not a member of the G7, it participates in the annual summit.

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