Q: What do you foresee in the future for political relations between India and Italy?
A: I am travelling to India on a state visit with the aim of giving a decisive impulse to our relations.
India plays a very important role on the international scene - both in Asia and in the major rounds of multilateral trade negotiations, as well as in international organisations. Italy is a founding member of the European Union, has direct interests in the Mediterranean, the Balkans and Africa and is present throughout the world with its products and culture.
Conditions are right for the political dialogue between our countries to take a major step forward both as regards bilateral relations and the relationship between the European Union and India.
The European Union, having enlarged its membership and completed the reform of its institutions with a new Constitutional Treaty, can now address the other leading protagonists on the international scene with a greater sense of its own identity and potential. It offers the whole world a model of co-existence between different peoples and Nations, which had for centuries fought one another bitterly.
The bilateral Summit held between the European Union and India in November 2004 laid the basis for a genuine Euro-Indian strategic partnership, and Italy intends to contribute actively to bringing this about.
Italy and India have many points in common historically and share similar ideals. Our countries represent thousands-year-old civilizations. They both believe that coexistence can be strengthened only on the basis of shared values and common interests.
Economic, scientific and cultural relations between Italy and India are a way of helping us get to know each other better and will serve to foster closer collaboration too.
That desire on our part is evidenced by the presence during my State visit of the Ministers charged with Foreign Affairs, Productive Activities, Universities and Scientific Research and with Cultural Affairs. They and their Indian counterparts will sign a series of agreements aimed at boosting cooperation between our countries through concrete initiatives.
We would like India to improve its knowledge of Italy. Ours is a dynamic and creative country exploring new horizons in scientific and technological research.
To that end, my visit specifically aims at the following goals:
— stimulate our economic relations, not only through increased commercial exchanges but above all by drawing profit from the complementary nature of production systems and by promoting joint industrial initiatives;
— consolidate and increase scientific cooperation both in fundamental and applied research, building on the wealth of contacts, which our researchers and scientists have established over the years.
Here are some little-known figures: more than 6,000 Indian researchers have so far trained in Trieste's scientific institutes, 1,200 of them in the last few years alone;
— reinforce cultural collaboration in many sectors including the development of our respective cultural and archaeological resources, exchanges in the field of contemporary arts, the film industry and the restoration of India's great monuments.