NEW DELHI, March 2 (PTI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India and Italy have decided to elevate their bilateral ties to a strategic partnership, opening a new chapter on defence cooperation.
Addressing the media after wide-ranging talks with visiting Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Modi said new opportunities were opening up in India in the sector of co-production and co-development, which can be beneficial for both the countries.
“This year India and Italy are celebrating the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations. On this occasion, we have decided to elevate the India-Italy partnership to the status of a strategic partnership,” Modi said with the Italian prime minister by his side.
Modi said the two countries have also decided to hold joint exercises and training courses between the armed forces of the two countries on a regular basis.
He said India and Italy have been working shoulder-to-shoulder on issues such as terrorism and separatism.
“We held extensive discussions on further strengthening this cooperation,” Modi said.
Modi and Meloni also announced setting up of a ‘Start-up Bridge’ between India and Italy.
“We laid special emphasis on increasing cooperation in areas like renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, semiconductor, telecom, space,” Modi said.
He also welcomed Italy’s active participation in the Indo-Pacific.
“It is a matter of great pleasure that Italy has decided to join the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative. This will enable us to identify concrete themes for enhancing our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” Modi said.
Earlier, Meloni was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan as she arrived here on a state visit.
Modi welcomed Meloni at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where she was accorded a tri-services guard of honour.
Meloni later offered tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
The Italian prime minister was received at the airport by Minister of State for Health Bharti Pawar.
The Italian prime minister is accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and a high-powered business delegation.
Meloni will also be the chief guest and keynote speaker at the 8th Raisina Dialogue, which will get underway this evening.