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Solidarity, sustainability, & innovation are 3 pillars of the India-Italy partnership

The bilateral trade ties between Italy and India have strengthened over the last few years, taking the relationship between the two nations to newer heights, writes H.E. Vincenzo de Luca, Ambassador of Italy to India.

Credit: Transcontinental Times

The virtual Summit held in November 2020 between the Prime Ministers of Italy and India marked a crucial milestone and culminated with the adoption of a joint declaration and a plan of action that laid out the strategic goals that both the countries committed to for the next five years.

Italy and India also committed to working together in the multilateral arena as both nations believe in an efficient multilateralism, one that can respond to the needs of a multipolar world.

The Global Health Summit, organised by Italy, within its G20 Presidency, and the European Union set out core principles on the way ahead to tackle future pandemics. In this context, Italy committed to continue working with Indian partners to reinforce the international institutions’ strong role, starting from the World Health Organisation.

The friendship between Italy and India lies on three fundamental pillars: Solidarity, sustainability and innovation. These have characterised the development of their relations over the past year.

Solidarity: The outburst of the most significant global health challenge of the Italian Era took the world by surprise. During the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, Italian and Indian institutions faced the delicate challenge of repatriating the significant number of nationals temporarily touring the respective countries. In a situation where the lockdown was in place, and the movement of people was compromised due to the much-needed restrictive measures adopted to curb the spread of the virus, the outstanding cooperation among our institutions made repatriation operations to be carried out in a smooth and orderly fashion. Italy got immense support from India during this period.

Similarly, a couple of months ago, India was challenged with a terrible second wave of coronavirus cases. As friends do in times of need, Italy stood next to India to fight against Coronavirus and extended all possible support to India. Within the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, Italy was among the first countries to deliver medical equipment and supplies by bringing a delegation from the Italian Civil Protection Department, which lent a helping hand to the country’s tough time.

Sustainability: Italy is working closely with India to make the planet a better place by tackling climate change through a series of strategies, starting from the transition to a green economy. In this regard, thanks to the advantages of digital interactions over the last year, Italy brought its business communities together. They allowed them to exchange views, build relationships to develop greener and more sustainable economic development. In this context, both ‘Make in India’ and ‘Self-reliant India’ programmes open great opportunities for industrial partnerships. It is crucial to exploit the untapped potential behind it to further strengthen economic relations and promote investments both ways. Italian companies look at India with great interest and have already invested extensively, in particular, in the green energy sector and energy transition.

Since March 2020, 13 new investments have been made by Italian companies in this field. Many more are eager to contribute to India’s green economy transition. Over the past year, Italy dedicated 66% of its digital meetings to economy-related issues. It will continue to be at the service of business communities of both nations to further enhance our bilateral trade and promote reciprocal investments.

Innovation: Looking at the future, Italy and India have been working extensively to reinforce their research and innovation partnership. This year, Italy is launching a new executive protocol on science and technology, which has already received significant interest from the scientific institutions of our countries. The country is now looking forward to new projects on mobility and collaborative networks. The recently organised ‘Digital Innovation Forum’ has brought together academic institutions from both countries that shared experiences in advanced technology and manufacturing.

Italy and India also worked extensively together in tackling the challenges of COVID-19 by co-organising webinars that allowed us to exchange experiences and explore areas of cooperation for future projects, especially in the field of drug repurposing and immunisation. Both nations enriched the partnership of their respective space agencies, which are collaborating on the development of joint projects in the area of exploration and innovations.

To further develop this vision, Italy plans to open a new Consulate General in Bengaluru, one of India’s leading technology and innovation hubs.

With these and many more collaborations at various levels, bilateral relations between the two nations will continue to thrive in the years to come. Looking forward to more Italy in India and more India in Italy.

Courtesy: Times of India

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