With Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s visit imparting a fresh thrust to the two countries’ engagements on all fronts, the Hellenic Republic’s decision to join Indo-Pacific and become an integral part of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor has added significance to strategic partnership between India and Greece
Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis concluded his two-day visit to India on February 22, giving a fresh momentum to Athens and New Delhi’s ties. This was the first head of government-level visit from Greece to India after 15 years; the last Prime Ministerial visit from Greece to India took place in 2008.
However, what was significant with the Greek Prime Minister’s visit was that it took place within six months of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Greece. The Indian Prime Minister visited Athens on August 25, 2023. It was the first Prime Ministerial visit from India to Greece in 40 years and this marked a new phase in the bilateral engagement of the two countries as it led to elevating India-Greece ties to the strategic partnership between New Delhi and Athens.
The Greek Prime Minister who was accompanied by a high-level official delegation and, also a 60-plus strong business delegation, held detailed talks with Prime Minister Modi both in the restricted format and delegation-level format.
In all, the focus of talks between the two leaders was on achieving a target of doubling bilateral trade by 2030 and enhancing cooperation in the areas like pharmaceuticals, shipping, chemical industry, agriculture, communications, start-up, innovations, tourism, infrastructure, space, and defence.
Bilateral cooperation in the areas such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, quantum computing, clean energy, renewable energy was also discussed. India and Greece also agreed to finalise the mobility and migration partnership agreement as soon as possible. It is felt that it will lead to emboldening people-to-people partnership between the two countries. The two leaders also discussed the regional and global issues of mutual concern.
Trusted Partnership
The Greek Prime Minister who was also the Chief Guest at the Raisina Dialogue, India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics, highlighted the growing partnership between the two countries.
“Today is a moment for both to reflect upon and celebrate the strength of a partnership between our two great nations. A partnership between two allies, two countries that share similar values. A partnership that today binds us closer than ever before. A partnership between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy,” Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis said in his address at the Raisina Dialogue.
Greece was among a few Western countries that refused to impose sanctions on India when it conducted nuclear tests in May 1998. On the abrogation of Article 370 and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship and judgement on Ram JanmaBhoomi-Babri Masjid, the official stand of Greece is that these are internal affairs of India.
Historic Linkages  

India’s contacts with Greece began over 2500 years ago. Trading between the Mauryan Kings and Greece is evidenced by coinage and writings. In 326 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the North-Western part of the Indian subcontinent as far as the Hyphasis (Beas River), and fought with Raja Puru, King of Pauravaa - between the Jhelum and Chenab), and Ambhi who ruled at Taxila.
He did not cross the Indus into India; and turned South and apparently went back to Babylon. Chanakya, wrote in Chandragupta’s Court records in ‘Arthashastra’ about Yavan Ambassador in the Kings’ court, named Megasthenes. Gandhara art is believed to be a fusion of Indian and Greek influences.
Trade and Commerce

India and Greece have decided to double their bilateral trade by 2030. In 2022-23, the two-way trade between the two countries stood at approx. US$2 billion, as per data from the Department of Commerce. Indian exports were US$ 785.72 million, while imports from Greece US$ 1157.90 million.
The main export items from India to Greece are Aluminium, organic chemicals; fish and crustaceans; iron and steel; plastic; textile articles; edible fruit and nuts. The main import items from Greece are Aluminium foil; mineral fuels, mineral oils, and products of their distillation; Sulphur; lime and cement.
In 2019, India Participated as ‘Honoured Country’ in the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), the largest annual commercial exposition of Greece, and also the largest in Southeast Europe and  the Balkans. India was previously the ‘Honoured Country' in 2009.
Defence Cooperation
India and Greece have agreed to deepen partnership in defence sector. The two countries have agreed to form a Working Group in the area of defence, while deciding to work towards linking their defence industries. Along with this, co-production and co-designing of military hardware in India have received a green signal from the leadership of the two countries.
India and Greece already enjoy defence partnership since 1998 when the two countries signed an MoU on defence cooperation. With this, military interaction between the two also increased. Members of India’s National Defence College visited Greece in 2002, 2003 and 2008, while Indian Naval ships made good will visits to the ports of the Hellenic Republic.
From the Greek side, the Chief of the Hellenic Navy participated in the International Fleet review at Vizag in February, 2016.  A high-level defence delegation led by Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Theodoros Lagios, Director General of General Directorate for Defence Investment and Armaments participated in DefExpo 2020 in February 2020, Lucknow.
On July 29, 2021, then Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane spoke with his Greek counterpart Lieutenant General Charalambos Lalousi, through a video call and discussed various aspects of bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries.
On January14, 2022, a virtual bilateral meeting was held between official delegations led by JS (IC), MoD and DG, General Directorate of National Defence Policy & International Relations of Greece. A follow up webinar between Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) and Greek counterparts was held on February 16, 2022.
The Chief of Hellenic Air Staff paid an official visit to India on June 12-15, 2023. Indian Air Force participated in the multinational air exercise INIOCHOS-23 hosted by the Hellenic Air Force at the Andravida Air Base in Greece from April 24 to May 4, 2023. The IAF participated with four Su-30 MKI and two C-17 aircraft.
A three-member technical survey team from the Indian Air Force visited Greece for the inspection of Mirage 2000 airframes at Tanagra from May 08 to May 11, 2023.
The Indian Navy’s Kolkata class destroyer ship INS Chennai visited Souda Bay, Crete from July27 to 29, 2023 and undertook a Passage Exercise with the Hellenic Naval Ship Nikiforos Fokas in the Aegean Sea. On September 16, 2023, INS Sumedha naval ship undertook a maritime partnership exercise with the Hellenic Navy ship HS Elli in the Mediterranean Sea.
Cooperation in Indo-Pacific
Athens has also decided to join the Indo-Pacific. In fact, both India and Greece share the vision of a free, open, and rules-based Mediterranean Sea and Indo-Pacific.
After France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, Greece is the latest European Union country to turn towards the Indo-Pacific. Endowed with the largest coastline within the EU, Greece is the world’s largest ship-owning nation. It has actively participated in international maritime security initiatives.
As of November 2023, as per The Diplomat, Greece possessed 11 submarines, three frigates, three mine/countermine warfare ships, and 36 offshore patrol units, making the EU nation powerful naval forces in the region.
India and Greece have common concerns and priorities in the fight against terrorism. Greek leadership has condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Athens strongly condemned Pakistan-backed terrorist attacks on Mumbai in November, 2008.
In February 2019, when 40 CRPF personnel were killed as their convoy of vehicles carrying them was attacked by a suicide bomber belonging to the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, Athens issued a statement condemning the attack in strong terms.
India and Greece have underscored the importance of enhancing connectivity between the two countries in terms of both maritime and air connectivity. The two sides, during Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ visit, indicated that they would encourage private sector to start direct bilateral flights between India and Greece.
Athens has agreed to become an integral part of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC). Launched   on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi in September, 2023, the IMEC envisages an eastern corridor connecting India and to the Gulf region and a northern corridor connecting the Gulf region to Europe. It will include a railway and ship-rail transit network and road transport routes.
“India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor is one such corridor that would strengthen this connectivity, and given the importance, the strategic importance that Greece holds in terms of its location, its importance, and the manner in which Greece could partner with the IMEC corridor was discussed,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said during special briefing to press on February 21.
Support at Multilateral Level
Greece has extended full support to India’s quest for a Permanent Seat in an expanded UNSC. It supported India at the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group in 2008, and 2016, MTCR, WASSENAAR arrangements, Australia Group.
Greece also supported India’s candidature for ICJ, ITLOS, IMO, Postal Operations Council (POC), World Heritage Committee and for the position of the External Auditor of the IAEA for the term 2022-27 and various other international bodies.

Diplomatic relations were established between the two countries in May 1950. Greece opened its Embassy in Delhi in 1950 and India in Athens in 1978. The relationship has progressed smoothly over the last more than 70 years. This reflects in their ever-increasing areas of engagements and commitment to add weight to their strategic partnership for their mutual benefits.