Greece-Indian Relations IAS Target

Greece-India Relations

22 Jul 2020

Category : International Relations

Topic: Greece-India Relations

Greece-Indian relations are the relations between Greece and India. Greece has an embassy in New Delhi and three honorary consulates in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. India has an embassy in Athens and an honorary consulate in Thessaloniki.

India-Greece Relation in the Past

For the Ancient Greeks "India" meant only the upper Indus till the time of Alexander the Great. After "India" meant to the Greeks most of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent. The Greeks referred to the Indians as, literally meaning "the people of the Indus River". Indians called the Greeks Yonas or “Yavanas” from Ionians.

18th–19th century

There is now tangible evidence indicating that the settlement of Greek merchants in Bengal must have begun as early as the beginning of the seventeenth century. Dimitrios Galanos was the earliest recorded Greek Indologist. His translations of Sanskrit texts into Greek made knowledge of the philosophical and religious ideas of India available to many Europeans. A "Dimitrios Galanos" Chair for Hellenic Studies was established at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India in September 2000.

Political Relations

India and Greece established diplomatic relations in May 1950. India opened its resident Embassy in Athens in March 1978. In modern times, the two countries have developed a warm relationship based on a common commitment to democracy, peace and development in the world and to a social system imbued with principles of justice and equality. India and Greece also share common approaches to many international issues, such as UN reforms and Cyprus. Greece has consistently supported India’s core foreign policy objectives. Greece participated with India in the Six-National Delhi Declaration on Nuclear Disarmament in 1985.

Commercial Relations

India and Greece are keen to increase their commercial and investment contacts. Greece looks for Indian investments in their program of privatization of public assets. Indian infrastructure company, GMR Group in a joint venture with GEK TERNA of Greece have won the tender for upgradation and management of Kasteli airport at Crete Island at a total cost of Euro 850 million.
Both countries enhancing bilateral commercial engagement in areas discussed included Agriculture, Tourism, Shipping, Infrastructure, IT, etc. Greek companies have shown interest in doing business in India including export of olive oil and olive, wine, cheese, fruits and fruit juice, consumer goods, construction and aluminium products to India as well as small investments. Many Indian entrepreneurs assisted by ITPO and Ministry of Micro, Small and Mefuim Industries have regularly participated in the Thessaloniki International Fair held every year in northern Greece.

Bilateral trade

Bilateral trade will go up in 2017-18 due to projects, joint ventures and increasing trade. An MoU in Air Services has been signed between India and Greece to establish direct air links between the two countries. Jet Airways has been designated as the Indian airline to fly to Greece. An Air Service Agreement will also be signed soon.

Cultural Relations

Several organizations like Indo-Hellenic Society for Culture and Development (ELINEPA), Shantom Indian Dance Center, Art of Living Hellas, Brahma Kumari Center and many Yoga centers under the patronage of Hellenic Yoga Society are active in propagation and promotion of Indian culture in Greece. Cultural groups sponsored by ICCR regularly participate in Greek dance and music festivals and cultural events. ICCR also offers scholarship every year to the Greek students to study in India. A few students are studying in India under self-financing scheme also.

Indian Community

There are about 10,000 Indian nationals living in Greece. Most of them are farm, factory or construction workers or small entrepreneurs. A few Indian professionals work in multinational organizations in banking, insurance and software sectors. Indians are a law-abiding community and enjoy cordial relations and goodwill of the native Greek community.

Air links

There is no direct air link between India and Greece. Athens can be reached via Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Doha, Bahrain, Amman and several cities in Europe. An Air Services Agreement is under negotiation.

India signs open skies pact with Greece

  • India has signed an open skies agreement with Greece, the first after the finalisation of the civil aviation policy.
  • The open skies agreement will allow airlines from India to operate unlimited number of flights to Greece while Greek carriers have been granted unlimited traffic rights to six Indian metro cities.
  • Prior to this, India had entered into an open skies agreement with the US and Britain.

Open Sky Agreement

  • According to the civil aviation policy, the government can enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5,000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.
  • Under the ‘open-sky’ agreement, there is no restriction on flights or seats.
  • Among SAARC countries, India doesn’t have any ‘open sky’ agreement with Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan.