New Delhi, Jun 26 (PTI) India and Greece on Saturday called for following fundamental international principles of rule of law and respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity, and denounced radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism, in a clear signal of their growing convergence on key geopolitical challenges.
The issues figured prominently during talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias in Athens.
Jaishankar is on a three-day visit to Greece from Friday, the first tour by an Indian foreign minister to Athens in the last 18 years.
The two sides also noted with satisfaction the convergence of each other's vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific ensuring connectivity and growth for all in the region, the Ministry of External Affairs said after the talks that covered key bilateral, regional and global issue.
Jaishankar and Dendias also agreed to work towards the establishment of a strategic partnership while deliberating on boosting cooperation in several areas such as trade and investment, science and technology, culture, academics and people-to-people relations.
In a tweet, Jaishankar described the talks as 'productive bilaterally' and insightful on many regional and global issues, adding it was agreed to step up the pace of engagement and work towards a strategic partnership.
The external affairs minister also paid a courtesy call on Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece.
The MEA said the Greek foreign minister signed an agreement making Greece part of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative of India aimed at promoting renewable energy and sustainable development.
It said the two ministers shared views on regional and global issues of mutual interest in the context of new geopolitical and geo-economic realities, including the Indo-Pacific.
'Both sides noted with satisfaction the convergence of each other's vision for a free, open, inclusive and cooperative Indo-Pacific ensuring connectivity and growth for all in the region,' the MEA said, adding they also discussed the recent developments pertaining to the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Libya.
It said India and Greece also agreed that the rule of law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity are fundamental principles of international relations that must be observed by all.
The assertion came amid growing global concerns over China's increasing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific and elsewhere. 'Both countries recognised the threat posed by radicalisation, violent extremism, as well as terrorism, including cross border terrorism. They emphasised that there can be no justification for these in any form or manifestation,' the MEA said in a statement.
The reference to cross border terrorism is seen as an oblique reference to Pakistan's support for cross-border terrorism against India.
The two countries also conveyed their deep commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based international order.
Reaffirming the importance of the urgent reform of the UN, including expansion of the UN Security Council, and other multilateral institutions, the two sides said such a step was necessary to make these institutions more inclusive, transparent, accountable, and better reflective of contemporary geopolitical realities.
'The Greek side reiterated its support for permanent membership of India in a reformed UNSC,' the MEA said.
It said the talks also focused on the coronavirus pandemic globally and the process of economic recovery.
'They agreed on the need for joint efforts to combat the disease and to work together for consolidating economic and commercial activities during and immediately after the pandemic,' it said.
Jaishankar also unveiled a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Athens.
'The statue will act as a strong symbol of friendship between the two countries,' the MEA said.
'India and Greece enjoy close and friendly relations which have been strengthened by the shared values of democracy, rule of law, pluralism, equality, freedom of speech and respect for human rights,' it said. PTI MPB ZMN