Italy's National Day - Buona Festa della Repubblica.
Italy's National Day, celebrated on the 2nd of June, holds great significance for the country as it marks the day when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic in 1946. Italy is one of the six founding countries of the European Union. India has shared a rich history with Italy for almost 800 years. The first recorded visit in history from Italy to India was when merchant Marco Polo travelled to India in the 13th century and recorded his journey in his book “Travels of Marco Polo”.
Italy and India share a rich history of cultural ties that date back centuries. The beginning of their cultural connections can be traced to ancient trade routes, like The Spice Route, which facilitated the exchange of ideas, art, and knowledge between the two regions. In 2023, India and Italy celebrate 75 years of establishing diplomatic relations. The strong ties are evident by the fact that the Indian community in Italy is the third largest community of Indians in Europe, with over 2,00,000 Indians.
Economically, India and Italy have a strong history. While Italy the 17th largest FDI investor in India, a whopping 53% year-on-year bilateral trade increase has been marked in 2021-22 itself. There has been steady growth in trade in areas such as automobiles, technology, chemicals, food processing industries, energy, and textiles to name a few.
Italy and India jointly signed the Italy-India Strategic Partnership in Energy Transition in October 2021. The partnership aims to drive the shift towards a cleaner and greener future, fostering sustainable development and reducing carbon emissions in both countries. It focuses on collaborating on areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable technologies.
India and Italy are actively engaged in the energy transition, with several companies leading the way. Enel is an important renewable energy player from Italy. Its subsidiary, Enel Green Power, has built wind and solar farms in India to support the nation's transformation initiatives. This serves as an example of how India and Italy are working together to accelerate the transition to sustainable and clean energy sources.
Italy and India have also partnered together on various agreements for Science and Technology. These agreements make it easier to collaborate on research projects, interchange scientists and researchers, and advance fields like information technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. An Indian multinational IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has established partnerships with Italian companies like Poste Italiane and Nexi to jointly develop advanced digital solutions. Infosys and Wipro have also set up their presence in Italy.
India and Italy also have strong and significant collaborations in the Automobile sector. Italian automobile company Fiat has a strong presence in India and have jointly manufactured vehicles with Tata Motors India. Many automakers, including Maruti Suzuki, Tata, Jeep, MG, Hyundai, and Kia, have also acquired Fiat diesel engines for use in their products for the Indian market. Piaggio, a huge automaker from Italy, incepted its Indian operations with the launch of Apé in 1999. Equipped and engineered for higher fuel efficiency, rugged performance and outstanding load carrying capability, Apé was an instant success in the Indian market.
To foster innovation, India and Italy have jointly launched the India-Italy Startup Bridge in March 2023 when Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni visited India. During her visit, she met with the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and was also a guest of honour at the 8th Raisina Dialogue. This initiative aims to connect startups from both countries and facilitate knowledge exchange and investment opportunities. The India Italy Startup Bridge opens doors to endless opportunities and a vibrant startup ecosystem.
The ties between the two countries have only grown stronger over the years, and there is no doubt that this friendship will continue to flourish for many years to come.