New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar held a crucial round of visit to Greece and held important bilateral discussions on wide-ranging issues including terrorism. The Greece Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias described Jaishankar's visit as a "very important" one.
"Both countries recognised the threat posed by radicalization, violent extremism, as well as terrorism, including cross border terrorism. They emphasized that there can be no justification for these in any form or manifestation," a joint release said after Jaishankar's meeting with his counterpart Dendias.
Importantly, the meeting and the Joint press release came in the backdrop of Turkey’s territorial claims in the Mediterranean region and reported support to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Lately, Turkey has emerged as a 'key ally' of Pakistan and even compared Kashmir with Palestine. Thus, the Indian Minister presenting New Delhi's points of view in a formal and structured format is definitely a significant development. The response too was positive.
The Greece Minister appreciated India's age-old stance on bilateral matters vis-a-via Pakistan very well and said: "Both Greece and India each face a serious challenge from a neighbouring country or countries. These countries refuse to resolve bilateral issues on the basis of International Law".
His reference was obviously to Turkey and Pakistan. Greece is bordered to the north by Albania, North Macedonia and Bulgaria; to the east is Turkey.
Jaishankar said the talks were productive bilaterally and insightful on many regional & global issues. Both sides "agreed to step up the pace of engagement and work towards a strategic partnership", he said.
It is significant to note that the Joint press release also said that in the globalized world, both sides noted the importance of "movement of people in an orderly and legal way" and agreed to work towards signing an agreement on migration and mobility. Last year, Islamabad had invited the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) to help boost tourism in the Gilgit Baltistan region in 'Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir'. During his state visit to Pakistan in early 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had assured Pakistan of Turkey’s support on the Kashmir issue.
Strategic expert Maj Gen (Retd) G D Bakshi said Jaishankar's trip to Greece was a "very timely visit" especially in the light of Turkeys "most uncalled for interference in Kashmir'' and sending Syrian terrorists to fight here. “India must have a full-time military attache in Greece right away," he said.
Even experts and stakeholders in Greece say India and Greece must cooperate actively and formulate a mechanism of cooperation that could counter the Turkish President’s 'Caliphate dreams'. There have been reports also through some actions Turkey was allegedly trying to lure Indian students into terrorism via scholarships and such offers. Hence, there was an added importance to the visit. India and Greece also 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.