As far as regional cooperation is concerned, Italy is aware that the Indo-Pacific region plays a crucial role(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
As far as regional cooperation is concerned, Italy is aware that the Indo-Pacific region plays a crucial role(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

From multilateralism to Indo-Pacific, India and Italy deepen bonds

With the joint declaration and action plan, we laid before us the basis of our strategic partnership for the next five years and we are looking forward to working with our Indian friends to deliver on what has been agreed among our prime ministers
By Vincenzo de Luca
PUBLISHED ON NOV 12, 2020 07:41 PM IST

The virtual summit between Prime Minister (PM) Giuseppe Conte and PM Narendra Modi marks an important milestone in the bilateral relations between Italy and India. The two PMs had an exchange that ranged from global to regional and bilateral issues. The results of the meeting were summarised in the Joint Declaration and Plan of Action, which referred to priority areas and strategic goals on which the bilateral partnership for the period 2020-2025 will be based upon.

As far as our cooperation in the multilateral arena is concerned, Italy and India agreed to reinforce their partnership also in view of the very special opportunity that the next two years present with their consecutive presidencies of the G20. In this context, we committed to coordinate our activities and set common priorities to strengthen the impact and relevance of our legacy.

We both believe in an efficient multilateralism, one that is capable of responding to the needs of a multipolar world. Tackling the current health situation is among the main tasks that the international community will deal with in the near future and this is why we must rely on a reinforced role of the World Health Organization. In this context, Italy and India will work together on a sustainable and inclusive recovery post Covid-19. On the climate crisis, looking to COP26, that Italy will co-chair, we have made significant progress with our Indian partners.

We are also aware that a sustainable economic recovery will depend on the activation of solid and reliable global supply chains and enhanced connectivity. In this framework, we are confident to work with our partners for a reinforced trade system that encourages equitable and free trade.

As far as regional cooperation is concerned, Italy is aware that the Indo-Pacific region plays a crucial role: It’s through its sea-lanes that a great deal of the world’s trade and energy resources are exchanged. The Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean overlap by connecting continents. That is why, like many other partners, we are interested in ensuring that the connectivity projects between these shores are built on a rules-based international order, rule of law, sustainable and transparent infrastructure investment and freedom of navigation.

With this in mind, Italy became a Development Partner of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) with the purpose of contributing to any initiative aimed at facilitating the cooperation between Europe and the Indo-Pacific for the sake of stability, security and prosperity of all the countries concerned. Moreover, thanks also to the Indian support, Italy has recently joined the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) as a dialogue partner. Again, our purpose is investing in the blue economy sector and fostering a stronger cooperation between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

Bilaterally, we have achieved very important results: Over 15 agreements were signed on the occasion of the virtual summit to further enhance our economic, cultural and scientific ties. Some of the agreements are in the defence industry sector. In particular, our national champion in shipbuilding, Fincantieri, signed two MoUs with Cochin Shipyard Ltd on design, shipbuilding, manufacturing and repair/refit. We are also focusing efforts in the field of aerospace, defence and security to explore joint productions or technology transfer.

As far as our economic relations are concerned, we are very aware that the Make in India programme opens many opportunities to Italian companies. There is a strong potential to further strengthen our economic relations and promote investments both ways. This was clearly acknowledged also in the High Level Economic Dialogue at the level of CEOs that was held at the end of October, prior to the summit.

With the joint declaration and action plan, we laid before us the basis of our strategic partnership for the next five years and we are looking forward to working with our Indian friends to deliver on what has been agreed among our prime ministers.

Vincenzo de Luca is ambassador of Italy to India
The views expressed are personal
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