Italian PM Acknowledges Contribution of Indian Diaspora

India, Italy sign six MoUs during the two-day visit to the country of Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.


India and Italy signed six Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the two-day visit to the country of Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni — the first such visit in a decade. The agreements signed concern issues such as the safety of railways and energy, cultural exchange and mutual investment.

The agreements were signed after delegation-level talks were held on Oct. 30 between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gentiloni.

One of the MoUs signed was related to the 70 years of diplomatic relations between the Indian Council of Cultural Relations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Italy. Another MoU was signed between Italy’s Training Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Foreign Service Institute of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Gentiloni also talked about the presence of the 170,000-strong Indian diaspora community in Italy and acknowledged their contribution to the country’s economy. Modi appreciated the measures taken by the Italian government in helping the Indians living there integrate with the society. The leaders also acknowledged the role played by the Italian business community in India’s economic development, and agreed to work together on migration and mobility between the two nations.

India and Italy also decided to set up a Joint Defense Committee for enhancing bilateral defense cooperation and encouraging structured dialogue. The Italian Prime Minister underlined his country’s industrial expertise in this sector, and the renewed interest of Italian industry in participating in defense manufacturing under the “Make in India” initiative.

The two sides also decided to uphold the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding on Political Cooperation between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries. Gentiloni also announced upcoming visits from various ministers of Italy to India, including that of the Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Culture, Minister of Economy and Finance and the Italian Vice Minister for Economic Development.

Gentiloni also mentioned that Italy strongly supports a strengthened strategic partnership between India and the European Union (EU). He sought greater experience sharing between the two countries in the area of fighting corruption. Italy’s National Anti-Corruption Authority will soon visit India to enhance cooperation in this area.

Gentiloni’s visit to India is the first one to be undertaken by an Italian prime minister in 10 years. The relations between the two countries suffered a setback after India jailed two Italian marines following the death of two Kerala fishermen in 2012. The two marines — Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone – who were on board a ship named Enrica Lexie, are now in Italy, while the verdict by the arbitration court at the Hague is awaited.

The visit also coincided with multiple attacks on Indian students in Milan, where they were reportedly beaten with broken glass bottles and faced racial slurs.

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