Foreign Policy Watch: India – EU

India-Italy Flourishing Relations


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: India-Italy Bilateral relations


Central Idea

  • The recent summit between Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and India. It also marked a significant turning point in the relations between the two countries, as they have established a strategic partnership for the first time.


Highlights of the current visit of PM Meloni

  • Now strategic partners: India and Italy have decided to elevate the ties to the level of strategic partnership and identified defence as one of the areas where they can start a new chapter.
  • Boost to startups: The meet led to the establishment of a ‘Startup Bridge’ between India and Italy.
  • Bilateral defence exercise: Another important area of mutual cooperation is defence. They also decided to organise joint military exercises and training courses on a regular basis.
  • Enhance people’s mobility: India and Italy also signed a Declaration of Intent on migration and mobility and inked a memorandum of understanding between Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata, and Italian Consulate General; and Morarji Desai Institute of Yoga and Sarva Yoga International, Italy.

India-Italy Flourishing Partnership

  • Bilateral Trade: Italy and India have intensified their collaboration in recent years, resulting in a record figure of around 15 billion euros in 2022, doubling the figure recorded in 2020.
  • Five-Year Action Plan: In 2020, a five-year action plan was adopted with a well-defined range of priorities including energy transition, food processing, advanced manufacturing, creative industry, and infrastructure.
  • Multilateral Initiatives: Italy has joined all the multilateral initiatives promoted by India, from the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) to the Coalition for Disaster Relief Infrastructure (CDRI), to the International Solar Alliance.
  • Cultural Collaboration: Italy and India have enhanced their collaboration in the cultural field, from the heritage front to the creative industry, including fashion, design, cinema, etc.
  • Scientific Research and Technology: The partnership between the two countries has registered the launch of 13 new joint projects in scientific research and technology.
  • Mobility: In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the flow of Indian students and workers in Italy, where an Indian community that exceeds a figure of 2,00,000 is already actively operating in the Italian economy.
  • Health Sector: During the pandemic, Italy and India collaborated by exchanging experiences and practices, with humanitarian initiatives and promoting joint research projects.
  • Strategic Partnership: The Joint Declaration approved in the last summit affirms the commitment of the two governments to develop a strategic partnership that will also focus on sectors such as defence, cybersecurity, space, and energy.
  • Indo-Pacific and Enlarged Mediterranean: A connection was identified between the Indo-Pacific and the enlarged Mediterranean where Italy is a front-line player in terms of energy security, investments, and commerce.
  • Support for G20 Presidency: Italy offered full support to the Indian Presidency of the G20, contributing around issues that were at the centre of Italy’s G20 Presidency in 2021.
  • Ukraine Conflict: Italy and India will be engaged in trying to find a cessation of the conflict in Ukraine.
  • European-Indian Strategic Partnership: Both the Prime Ministers expressed their commitment to enhancing the European-Indian strategic partnership and their support for the ongoing negotiations for Free Trade Agreements and agreements on investment protection and geographical indication protection.

What makes Italy a crucial partner for India?

  • Economic Cooperation: Italy is one of the largest economies in the European Union and is home to several global corporations. India has a growing economy, and both countries have strong economic ties.
  • Trade and Investment: Italy is the 13th largest investor in India with around 700 Italian companies having a presence in India. Italian companies are investing in various sectors in India, including infrastructure, energy, automotive, and textiles.
  • Cultural Ties: India and Italy share a rich cultural heritage, and their cultural ties go back centuries. Both countries have a long history of art, literature, music, and architecture. Italy is known for its classical art, and India is renowned for its rich cultural diversity.
  • Strategic Cooperation: Both have a shared vision of a multi-polar world order, and are committed to promoting peace and security. Both countries work closely on global issues such as climate change, counter-terrorism, and UN reform.
  • People-to-People Contacts: Italy and India have a significant number of people-to-people contacts, with a large Indian diaspora in Italy. There are over 150,000 people of Indian origin living in Italy, and they contribute significantly to the cultural, social, and economic fabric of the country. The growing tourism sector is also promoting more significant people-to-people contacts between the two countries.



  • The strategic partnership between Italy and India is based on respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and territorial integrity. It aims to strengthen bilateral relations and focus on sectors such as defence, cybersecurity, space, and energy. In these challenging times, the two countries aim to give a strong impulse to their relations based on the common recognition of the value of true friendship and solidarity.

Mains Question

Q. What are the key highlights of the recent visit of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to India, and how does it mark a significant turning point in the relations between Italy and India? Also Discuss the factors that make Italy a crucial partner for India.

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