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India, Greece to deepen co-operation in aviation

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India and Greece have agreed to deepen bilateral co-operation in a range of key areas including trade, investment and energy and inked a pact for launching the first direct flight service between the two countries. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias held extensive talks covering the entire expanse of bilateral relations during which they resolved to take steps to further expand the ties.

An air services agreement and another pact on co-operation in the field of new and renewable energy were signed after the talks, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. He said the discussions covered all aspects of bilateral relationship and that the two leaders reaffirmed commitment to further expand co-operation in mutually beneficial spheres.

The air services agreement will allow Indian airlines to operate to Athens, Thessaloniki and Heraklion. Similarly, the Greek airlines will also be able to launch flight services to major Indian cities. At present there is no direct air connectivity between India and the southeastern European nation.

The volume of bilateral trade has gradually declined, primarily due to the economic recession faced by Greece. The size of bilateral trade between India and Greece was US$ 606.93 million in 2009-10 which fell to US$ 445 million in 2015-16.