What does Indian PM Narendra Modi Want in Greece? The port of Piraeus, among many other things! The military/defense cooperation is in the front and center, a natural result of the close ties between Turkey and Pakistan. 

By Nick Stamatakis

Right after the conclusion of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, where the earth-shaking expansion with six new members took place, Indian PM Modi stopped in Athens for a long-awaited visit.  The two countries are sea powers and face similar problems (with Turkey and Pakistan, respectively) regarding Muslim minorities, borders etc.  Pakistan is a very close ally of Turkey, and Pakistani pilots regularly exercise in the Mediterranean.

The rapidly growing Indian economy and the even more rapidly growing BRICS alliance were the prime motivators for the meeting – although nothing happens in Greece that is not directly or indirectly blessed by the shipowners.  Let me remind you here that Thanassis Martinos, who I have called the “patriarch” of Greek Shipowners, visited and started doing business with China at age 17, two years before Kissinger’s famous secret visit to Beijing.  I can guarantee you that, in this case, the shipowners had a lot to do with Modi’s visit.  Mr. Modi was very clear in mentioning Greece’s geographical position as a stepping stone into Europe.

It was a meeting that should have happened years ago. The two countries have many common interests. Already from this first meeting, India elevated Greece to the position of her “strategic partner”, a title that only France and Germany have in Europe. Several businessmen from the two sides signed many agreements in al sectors. The port of Piraeus, now operated by the Chinese COSCO, was again mentioned as a necessary entrance to Europe.

The most significant part of the meeting had to do with jump-starting the military defense cooperation between the two countries, many years after their two sworn enemies, Turkey and Pakistan have started theirs.  Needless to point out, the tremendous accomplishment of the Indian Space program to land on the moon a few days ago gave the opportunity for the Greek side to congratulate the Indian prime minister.




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