Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. had a four-day visit to India and hold talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh after the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday 11/1/2008. The Greek premier noted the existing very good cooperation between Greece and India within international organisations, and assured Athens’ support for further expanding the United Nations Security Council. “Well, I attach great importance to our co-operation with India, a country with a very important economic and cultural calibre and of course with a very distinctive role in international scene,” Karamanlis said and pointed out that his visit would provide a new momentum to further promote relations between India and Greece, which would benefit the two nations.
The two premiers discussed regional affairs in southern Asia, such as the current situation in Afghanistan and recent developments in Pakistan, while Karamanlis briefed Manmohan Singh in detail on the Cyprus problem and thanked him for India’s steadfast stance on this issue in recent years. Karamanlis additionally discussed the outstanding dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) over FYROM’s use of the name ‘Macedonia’, the situation in Kosovo and its repercussion on the stability and security of the Balkans and developments in Greek-Turkish relations.
Karamanlis said his presence in India’s capital demonstrated the desire of the two sides to develop bilateral economic and cultural ties even further. “My visit here testifies the steady progress in our bilateral relations and our willingness to further enhance them. We have excellent co-operation in all international organisations. We can work together to enhance further the European Union-India relations,” he added.
The bilateral economic relations had been developing rapidly in recent years and there are many potential areas of cooperation in business, trade, shipping and tourism between the two countries. He also underlined Greece’s role as an economic centre for southeastern Europe and examined possible cooperation in culture and education.
In a similar manner, India’s Foreign Ministry mentioned in a statement. “There is close identity of views between our two sides on issues facing the world. Today there is a desire on both sides to engage more deeply with each other,” and added “Prime Minister Karamanlis’ visit will help further strengthen the bonds of traditional friendship and goodwill and focus attention en enhancing bilateral cooperation in a cross-sectoral manner.”
Karamanlis arrived in New Delhi on Thursday for a three-day official visit accompanied by Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, Minister of State and government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos and the head of his press office Yiannis Andrianos. The Greek leaders were received at Delhi airport by India’s junior Foreign Minister Anand Sharma on Thursday and hold discussions on Friday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Foreign Minister, Pranab Mukherjee and other Indian leaders but they could not meet with ruling United Progressive Alliance chairwoman Sonia Gandhi as she was admitted to hospital.
Read the joint press conference of the Greek and Indian Prime Ministers HERE
Karamanlis and his team visited Agra and Jaipur on Saturday before leaving for Athens on Sunday.
The program of the Prime Minister has as follows:
Thursday 10 January
09:00 Departure from Athens.
18:30(l.t.) Arrival in New Delhi.
Friday 11 January
10:00 Arrival at the Presidential Palace ‘’ Rashtrapati Bhawan ’’ Reception by the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh
10:35 Arrival at Rajghat (Gandhi Monument ) Ceremony filing garland
11:30 Meeting with Foreign Minister of India Mr. Pranab Mukherjee (Hotel ITC Maurya )
12:30 Meeting with President of India Mrs. Pratibha Patil (Presidential Palace)
13:30 Lunch in honour of the Prime Minister which is being organised by the Indian Chambers CII / FICCI / ASSOCHAM (Hotel ITC Maurya )
15:30 Visit of the Head of Opposition Mr. L.K . Advani to the Prime Minister (Hotel ITC Maurya )
16:15 Meeting with the Vice President of India Mr. Hamid Ansari in his residence.
16:55 Meeting with President of UPA Mrs Sonia Gandhi in her residence.
18:30 Arrival at Hyderabad House. Meeting between the Prime Minister with the Prime Minister of India Mr. Manmohan Singh.
20:00 Official dinner in honor of Prime Minister by the Indian counterpart.
Saturday 12 January
11:35 Departure for Agra
14:20 Visit to Taj Mahal
15:50 Departure for Jaipur
19:45 Meeting between the Prime Minister with the Governor of Rajastan Shri S . K . Singh
Sunday 13 January
Departure of Prime Minister for Athens