New Delhi, Feb 28 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, who met his Italian counterpart Giulio Terzi Di Sant' Agata in the backdrop of an unfortunate incident involving death of two Indian fishermen and the subsequent detention of two Italian navy personnel, here on Tuesday said that both sides agreed on the need to clear the air so that people in both countries are reassured of will and commitment of the respective governments to strengthen the partnership.
"We met in the backdrop of an unfortunate incident involving death of two Indian fishermen and the subsequent detention of two Italian navy personnel. There is strong public opinion on both sides. Minister Terzi and I agreed that we need to clear the air so that people in both countries are reassured of our will and commitment to strengthen our partnership," said Krishna in his statement to the media after meeting the Italian Foreign Minister.
"We are of the view that our relations are mature and based on strong foundations. This gives us the ability to address challenges together," he added.
Krishna said the two sides had very fruitful discussions delegation-level talks.
"His Excellency Foreign Minister Terzi and I, along with our delegations, have held very fruitful discussions today. We reviewed our bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest in a cordial atmosphere," he said.
Asserting that India values its relationship with Italy, Krishna said : " Italy occupies an important and central position in Europe. There is enormous scope to further consolidate and strengthen our bilateral ties. I had visited Rome last June and had the privilege to participate in the 150th Anniversary celebrations of the unification of your great country."
"The Government of Prime Minister Monti has undertaken in a short period of time bold and challenging fiscal and economic measures, which have been applauded both in Europe and internationally. We wish Italy the very best in their efforts," he added.
Throwing light on the trade and economic ties between the two nations, Krishna said: "The economic and trade relations are central to our relationship. We have a vibrant bilateral trade and economic relationship with Italy. Italy is now India's 5th largest trading partner in the European Union. Our bilateral trade grew at the remarkable rate of around 28 percent to reach 7.21 billion Euros in 2010, and it grew further by 24 percent during January-October of the last year compared to same period in 2010."
"There is also enormous opportunity for expansion of Italian investment in India. We would like to see these to grow, to achieve their full potential. Both sides will continue work in this direction," he added.
Krishna said with the rich cultural heritage that exists in both countries, there is also potential for growth in the tourism sector.
"We have good cooperation in Defence and S and T sector. As two ancient civilizations with a rich cultural heritage, we would like to see our cultural contacts with Italy expand," said Krishna.
"People-to-people relations are the firm foundations on which other aspects of bilateral relations can be consolidated," he added.
Krishna further said that he and his Italian counterpart acknowledged the contribution of the vibrant Indian community in Italy.
"I also thanked Minister Terzi for assuring me of his personal attention to alleviate the difficulties being faced by members of the Sikh community in Italy. We appreciate the measures taken by the Italian Government and look to Italy's continued support in resolving this issue," he added. (ANI)
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