NEW DELHI: Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Thursday said that India, as president of the G20, may play a central role in facilitating the negotiation process for cessation of hostilities for “just peace” in Ukraine.
Addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Meloni added that Italy aimed to strengthen its partnership with India on defence and energy security, as well as cybersecurity and other areas. She added that PM Modi is among the “most loved leaders around the world.”
The visiting Italian leader held talks on bilateral, regional and global issues with Prime Minister Modi at Hyderabad House in the national capital today. “We hope that India having the G20 presidency can play a central role in facilitating a negotiating process for the cessation of hostilities (in Ukraine). Keeping the multilateral community together is important and we hope the Indian presidency can do it even more”, the Italian PM said.
“PM Modi knows he can rely on us, on our cooperation for the G20 summit, to further enhance our relationship. I believe there is a lot we can do together”, Meloni said. Meloni said Italy wants to further boost this relation and “this is the reason why we have decided to turn our partnership into a strategic partnership because we have very solid relationship”.
The Italian Prime Minister said that India can very well represent in terms of leadership, the requirements of the countries of the Global South. “And we definitely do want to give a helping hand along this process to India. Prime Minister Modi knows very well Italy’s position, which is giving full support to the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, she said.
“And I think that in the previous Bali G20 summit, it has been important to hold the multilateral community united. And we hope that the Indian presidency can do even more on this and further confirm our friendship,” she added.
The Italian PM also lauded PM Modi for having the highest approval ratings in the world and said that he had proven to be the major leader of the world. “I am not sure if this will lead me to the approval rating that Prime Minister Modi has reached. I think he’s the most loved one of all around the world. But, I mean, this has really proven that he has been a major leader”, Meloni said.
Referring to the trade ties with India, the Italian PM said it has touched a record figure of almost Euros 15 billion. She further stated that her government is planning to project intense activism in the Mediterranean sea, which is connected to the Indo-Pacific.
Emphasising the similarities between India and Italy, Meloni said, “We have many similarities. We are two peninsulas, we are 2,000-old traditions, relatively younger states, and regions which have fought hard for their independence, for their freedom. So, I think that there are many elements which bring us close to each other for the preservation of identity, which is one of the basic conditions to preserve the rights of one’s own people. So there’s a lot to be working on together, starting from some sectors where we want to enhance our cooperation”.
She stated that India has set up major objectives in the work in terms of energy coming from renewables. “We are working on very important projects which are connecting our two respective countries on this. Technology and then emerging technologies, cybersecurity space, are all strategic issues, sectors in which we want to work together. And I think that much more can be done”, she said.
“As the Prime Minister was saying, we have decided to adhere to the Interpacific Oceans Initiative. And we have done so because we firmly believe that in an international scenario, which has to be based on rules, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, it is very important to guarantee stability and the vision of the Indo-Pacific which is open and respectful of the rules of sovereignty and integrity of the nations”, the Italian PM added.
Meloni was on Thursday morning welcomed by Prime Minister Modi at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and was accorded a Tri-Services guard of honour. “Today, we’re announcing the establishment of a ‘Startup Bridge’ between India and Italy. We welcome this. There is one more sector wherein both the countries are beginning a new chapter, that is, defence cooperation”” PM Modi said after meeting with his Italian counterpart.
Modi also said that India and Italy are walking shoulder-to-shoulder and he held a detailed discussion with his Italian counterpart to further strengthen this cooperation. “India has made it clear from the beginning that the Ukraine dispute can be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy. We welcome Italy’s active participation in the Indo-Pacific region. It is a matter of happiness that Italy has decided to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative”, PM Modi said.
PM Modi also highlighted the fact that India and Italy were marking the establishment of 75 years of their bilateral relationship. “India will further strengthen its relationship with Italy in the fields of renewable energy, hydrogen, IT, telecom, semiconductors and space”, PM Modi said in the joint press conference.
PM Modi also congratulated Meloni for becoming the first woman and youngest PM of Italy in last year’s elections. Making her first visit to India since she assumed office, Meloni paid her respects to Mahatma Gandhi by offering floral tributes at his memorial Rajghat.
The Italian Prime Minister is the chief guest and keynote speaker at the eighth editon of the Raisina Dialogue 2023.
Meloni is being accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and a high-powered business delegation. (ANI)G20