Recently India and Italy have conducted their annual summit virtually between PM Narendra Modi and Italian PM Giuseppe Conte. Defence cooperation was one of the key agenda of this summit. We will discuss this summit and its significance in this article.
Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of various international organisations and institutions such as NATO, G7, G20, World Trade organisation etc.
“The memorandum of understanding on silk routes with china was a mistake. Xi’s China is no longer what it used to be”Vincenzo Amendola, Italian Minister for European Affairs
Though Italy and China had lots of cooperation and Italy was believed to be the closest partner of China in the entire G7, the Chinese Virus pandemic has lead to many cracks in their bilateral relationships
Today Italy along with Sweden is trying to reduce the Chinese Influence in the small European countries. China is no longer a reliable partner. The Chinese Virus pandemic has turned many pro-China counties into Anti-China.
Like many other European countries, Italy also sees India as an important partner in terms of trade and supply chain expansion. Along with defence cooperation, diversification of supply chains was also among the top agenda in the virtual summit. Italy has reliazed that dependence on only one country for the supply chains can be dangerous.
Talking about existing defence collaborations, the Italian Firm Fincantieri that partnered our Cochin Shipyard limited to design and integrate the engine system of the Aircraft Carrier Vikrant for the Indian Navy is now further enhancing its cooperation with CSL, as both the firms recently signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Fincantieri has also delivered two fleet tankers ‘Deepak’ and ‘Shakti’ to the Indian Navy along with the research vessel ‘Sagar Nidhi’ built for the National Institute of Ocean Technology.
“The two prime ministers welcomed the steady strengthening of defence cooperation and recognised the importance of regular defence exchanges. They underscored the need to further expand defence engagement through greater two-way collaboration and technology cooperation, co-development and co-production by expediting discussion through the joint defence committee and military cooperation group. They recognised the opportunity to consolidate defence relations with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of peacekeeping activities within the framework of the united nations”Press Statement
Through this press statement, we can understand that the military cooperation between the two countries is going to be very strong. We can expect bilateral military exercises, joint development, and productions of various defence equipment under make in India.
The Italian firm Avio excels in aircraft and helicopter propulsion systems, gas turbines, and solid propellant motors. Piaggio Aerospace is a major manufacturer of aircraft, aero engines, aerospace components, and aerostructures. The partnership of these companies with Indian private and public companies is very much possible.
The Timing of these developments is very crucial. When there is global outrage against the Chinese virus and rising anti-China Sentiments around the world, India is strengthening its ties with the countries which once used to be close to China. Thus India- Italy defence ties is a strong message for the Dragon.