India and Italy inked six pacts aimed at boosting ties between the two nations after extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni, who is on a two-day India visit. The pacts included boosting cooperation in the energy and trade sectors, and other key issues such as terrorism and cyber crime.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni arrived in New Delhi today on a two state visit. The two sides has off-late been seen its ties marred with issue involving the prosecution of Italian marines.
This is the first prime ministerial trip from Italy after more than a decade. The last visit of an Italian prime minister to India was in February 2007.
In the talks held at Hyderabad House, the two leaders also discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral political and economic relations, apart from deliberating on strategic international and regional issues.
Italy is India’s fifth largest trading partner in the EU with a bilateral trade of USD 8.79 billion in 2016-17, as per official figures.
India’s exports to Italy were at USD 4.90 billion, while its imports were at USD 3.89 billion, resulting in a trade imbalance of USD 1 billion in favour of India. In the first four months of fiscal 2017-18, bilateral trade has reached USD 3.22 billion.
Ahead of his meeting with Modi, the visiting leader had described his visit as an opportunity to make ties between the two countries stronger.
The Indo-Italy diplomatic ties were hit badly after two Italian marines — Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone — on board a ship named Enrica Lexie, were arrested for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.
The matter was also heard in the international court as Italy claimed the ship was in international waters and that only the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) should apply.
While Latorre returned to Italy in September 2014 following an order of the Supreme Court issued on health grounds, Girone was allowed to go in May 2016. They are now in Italy, pending the verdict by the arbitration court at the Hague.
The Indo-Italy diplomatic row also impacted the European Union’s relationship with India.
(With inputs from PTI)