“The trend of bilateral trade has been extremely positive since 2019. In 2021, it touched 10.4 billion euros. Between January and August 2022, the figure has already reached 9.8 billion euros, a jump of 52% compared to the corresponding figure of last year. year,” de Luca told ET in an exclusive interview. “Italy is not only interested in participating in India’s defense sector, but also exploring opportunities for possible technology transfer. ”
Italy’s main export product to India is machinery, which accounts for 36% of its total exports, and India’s main exports to Italy are metals (iron, steel and aluminium, and metal products), according to the senior diplomat.
Relations have intensified and successive Italian prime ministers have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent years to give impetus to the bilateral partnership, including in the defense sector, de Luca said.
Last year, the then Chief of Staff, General MM Naravane, visited Italy from July 7 to 9. The visit of an Indian army chief to Italy took place after 14 years and at the service chief level, the interaction happened after more than a decade. The Italian Ministry of Defense expressed Italy’s desire at the time to “relaunch defense relations with India”.
“Italy is also betting big on the Indo-EU FTA (free trade agreement). We have an ambitious deadline of December 2023. We are bullish on India, which is becoming increasingly attractive to Europe , including Italy,” the ambassador said.
Italy also wants to share its expertise in natural gas infrastructure management given its own experience in this sector, he said.
Italy is among India’s top five trading partners in the European Union. India ranks 19th among the countries of origin of Italian imports, accounting for 1.2% of Italian imports. Other Indian export items to Italy are ready-made garments, leather, iron ore, motor vehicles, textiles, chemicals, gemstones and jewellery.
About 140 major Italian companies are active in India, with the total number exceeding 600. Six Italian banks are represented in India. The main sectors attracting foreign direct investment flows from Italy are the automobile or transport, food processing, metallurgical industry, textiles and electrical equipment. Indian companies present in Italy belong to sectors such as IT, electronics, pharmaceuticals, automotive, textiles and engineering.
Some of the major Italian companies that have invested in India operate in the priority sectors outlined by the bilateral action plan 2020-24 – energy transition, manufacturing, lifestyle, infrastructure and food processing.
In particular, the promotion of investments in small and medium-sized enterprises and a strategic partnership in the energy transition have been the two pillars for the strengthening of the economic partnership between Italy and India.
The adoption of a joint declaration on the Italy-India strategic partnership in the energy transition, between Prime Minister Draghi and Prime Minister Modi last year, marked an important step to encourage Italian and Indian companies to develop joint projects in key areas related to the energy transition – such as mobility, smart grids, electricity distribution and storage solutions, gas transport, green hydrogen and biofuels – and to share useful experiences, in particular in the policy and regulatory framework.