India and Italy are expected to sign several agreements on trade, environment media etc., apart from inking memoranda of understanding (MoUs), during a virtual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte on Friday.

New Delhi looks forward to carrying forward the momentum generated by the visit of PM Conte in October 2018.

From January 1, 2021, India joins the G-20 Troika, along with Italy and Saudi Arabia. India and Italy will be part of the Troika for 2021 and 2022 when India takes over as the G-20 chair. The G-20 Summit will provide an important platform for India and Italy to work together in areas of mutual interest and drive a common agenda.

According to informed sources, it is on India’s request Italy agreed to host the G20 Summit in 2021, in exchange for India hosting it in 2022. “Italy is a member of prominent regional and global groupings (G7, G20, EU, NATO, OECD etc) and is supportive towards India in the multilateral fora,” said a source.

This summit will also provide a possibility of enhancing Italian investments in India, defence cooperation and manufacturing under ‘Make in India’.

Approx 600 large Italian companies are active in India. Italy’s strength in design, textiles, leather, automobiles, construction, railways, defence and smart grids, can be helpful in our infrastructure development. Italy is also hopeful on progress negotiations on the trade and investment agreements between India and the European Union (EU).

Italy is India’s fifth-largest trading partner in the EU after Germany, Belgium, the UK and France. The bilateral trade between both nations was Euros 9.52 billion in 2019. India and Italy also seek to diversify supply chains.

Besides, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the two countries closer. As many as 4,309 Indians were repatriated from Italy, while the repatriation of 1,495 Italians was facilitated from India. India gifted 40,000 surgical masks, 100,000 hand gloves, 20,000 headcovers and 20,000 shoe covers to Italy in March 2020, besides assisting the travel of 44 Italian adoptive parents to the country. (ANI)