6 May 2021
Cultural ties between both countries date back to the 4th Century when the Hellenistic king Seleucus-I sent a Greek historian and a diplomat as the ambassador to the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta. In the18th late Century(1760-1833), Dimitrios Galanos spent 47 years in India learning about its culture and a language, forming a Sanskrit-English-Greek dictionary. However, in present times, there is a lot of cultural contact between India and Greece, like several cultural organizations. There are two Greek institutions located in India, Varanasi, and Kolkata whereas in Athens, organizations such as Yoga institute, 1st Bollywood Dance & Academy Greece, Brahma Kumaris Centre, etc.
On 2nd October, the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian Embassy organized cultural events, like the Bharatanatyam dance performance, at the Agricultural University of Athens. Greek dances, music festivals, and various cultural events sponsored by the ICCR have taken place, also offering scholarships to Greek students studying in India.
India and Greece have been in contact for over 2500 years, establishing diplomatic relations in 1950. Over the last 69 years, due to the bilateral visits, the relationship between the countries improved. In January 2008, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis visited India and PM George Papandreou in February 2010 to attend the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.
Greek defense and the foreign minister came to India in December 2015 and November 2017, respectively. The MoU on Cooperation relating to New and Renewable Energy and the Air Services Agreement was signed in Nov 2017. From 16-19 June 2018, after 11 years, Honorable Rashtrapatiji a State Visit to the Hellenic Republic and held meetings with the Greek President Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. The signing of MoU on Standardization, Programme for Cultural Cooperation, and MoU between FSI and the Greek Diplomatic Academy took place during this time. Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat toured Greece on April 18-19, 2018. Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu, met the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the ASEM Summit on 18 October 2018 in Brussels.
On September 27, 2019, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met at the High-Level Segment of the UNGA 74. Both leaders confirmed the excellent relationship between the countries, as India is the largest democracy and Greece the oldest. During the meet, reviewing the bilateral relations occurred, along with ways to strengthen the political, economic exchanges.
The bilateral trade in 2016-17 was US$ 503.02, US $ 529.98 in 2017-18 (India’s export 433.87 million and import 96.11 million), and US$ 647.39 in 2018-19 (India’s export $ 503.37 and import $ 144.02 million). As per the figures, from the Hellenic Statistical Authority, the total trade income during 2018 was Euro 642.5 million; Indian Exports meriting Euro 466.9 million, and Imports at Euro 175.6 million. An increase of 14% in Indian exports compared to 2017.
The Indian Exports are aluminum, organic chemicals; iron and steel; plastic; textile; fish and crustaceans; spices; machinery, and mechanical appliances; articles of apparel and clothing accessories; medical or surgical inst.; automobiles and automobile components; carpets and other floor coverings; paper and paperboard; leather goods; travel goods, handbags; articles of the animal gut; paints, etc. The Indian imports are aluminum foil; iron and steel; machinery and mechanical appliances; mineral fuels, mineral sulfur; lime and cement; building stones – mainly marble and travertine; ships,
boats and floating structures; cotton; edible fruit and nuts, feel or citrus fruit or melons, kiwi; etc.
The Mission colluded with Enterprise Greece, addressed by Rashtrapatij, to organize an India-Greece Business Forum on 19 June 2018. The business meeting conducted 31 Indian business delegates and Greek representatives from sectors of information technology, etc.
From September 7-15, 2019, India participated as the Honored Country in the 84th Thessaloniki International Fair(TIF), the largest annual commercial expo in Greece, Southeast Europe, and the Balkans. The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and the MoS Shri Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated the New Indian Pavilion on 7th September 2019. During this time, the MoS for commercial and industrial also held meetings with PM Mitsotakis, with the Minister of Economic Development & Investments, and breakfast B2G meeting with CEOs. Officials of the Indian Government, from the Ministries of Commerce and Industry, Electronics & Information Technology, Social Justice and Empowerment, Tourism, MSME, attended the fair. Along with that, officers of the Embassy of India in Greece, ITPO, IBEF, and CII as well as prominent Indian entrepreneurs also attended. 60 exhibitors participated, including ISRO, NTPC, APEDA, NSIC, and companies from Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, etc.