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Italian PM's visit first in over a decade

Italian PM's visit first in over a decade”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni met here on Monday to breathe fresh life into India-Italy relations, strained since 2012 over the killing of two Kerala fishermen by its navy personnel.

External Affairs Minster Sushma Swaraj on Monday called on visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and discussed issues of mutual interest.

Later in the day, Modi will hold delegation-level talks with Gentiloni today following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed. The last visit of an Italian prime minister to India was in February 2007. "We have good investments from Indian companies in Italy", the Italian Prime Minister said while speaking to the media here.

India's exports to Italy are worth $ 4.90 billion, while its imports are $ 3.89 billion, resulting in a trade balance of $ 1 billion in favour of India.

The MEA added, "A 15-member Italian CEO delegation will be accompanying the official delegation". After protracted negotiations, both countries have referred the case to the United Nations arbitration court to adjudicate the jurisdiction of Indian courts to put the two marines on trial, while allowing them to return to their country. "In the first four months of fiscal 2017-18, bilateral trade has reached $3.22 billion", it stated.

Italy questioned India's jurisdiction, claiming that the incident took place in global waters.

The top five sectors in India that attract Italian investments are automotive industry, trading, service sector, industrial machinery and food processing industry. There are more than 600 Italian companies with offices in India in areas ranging from fashion to textiles and textile machinery, auto components, energy and insurance.

India moved the Supreme Court and refused to hand over the two Marines but in September 2014, Latorre was allowed to return to Italy following an apex court order on health grounds. The Indo-Italy diplomatic row also impacted the European Union's relationship with India. Italy also has a sizeable population of expatriate Indians numbering nearly 200,000.

Italy has the third largest presence of Indian community in Europe with an estimated 1,80,000 people after the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.



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