Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni Welcomed To Rashtrapati Bhavan In First Trip To India In 10 Years

| October 30 , 2017 , 10:51 IST

In the first prime ministerial trip from Italy since February 2007, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni was accorded a grand ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday.

Currently, on a two-day visit to India, PM Gentiloni was welcomed by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the visit, PM Gentiloni is scheduled to conduct delegation-level talks with PM Modi after which a number of agreements are likely to be signed. The Italian PM will also be meeting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

External Affairs Minister Spokesperson Raveen Kumar, while announcing the visit said, "The visit is aimed at strengthening the bilateral political and economic relations between the two countries."

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Along with PM Gentiloni, his wife and a 15-member Italian CEOs delegation have come to India.

Ties between India and Italy became strained after two Italian marines Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone were arrested for allegedly killing 2 Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala on 2012. Following the arrests, Italy claimed that the ship had been in international waters therefore only the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) should apply, and moved the international court. Massimiliano was returned to Italy in September 2014, while Girone was freed in May 2016.

Italy is India's 5th largest trading partner in the European Union with bilateral trade of $ 8.79 billion in 2016-17. India's exports to Italy stand at $ 4.90 billion with imports marked at $ 3.89 billion.

Italy also has the third largest presence of Indian diaspora in the EU after the UK and Netherlands, with an estimated presence of 1.8 lakh Indian nationals.