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Politics

Greece’s Armed Forces Chief Heading for India, Military Ties Tighten

ATHENS – Greece’s National Defense General Staff chief General Dimitris Houpis will visit India – following up on Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ trip there in February – as the countries continue to boost bilateral relations.

Sources not named told Kathimerini that the countries will sign a military cooperation program for the first time in their history, which includes exercises and joint activities with personnel and assets of the three branches of the army, as well as the Special Forces.

The report said they are drafting co-training programs under which military forces from Greece will take part in national-scale activities in India and India’s military doing the same in Greece.

Participation in exercises organized by both – Greece’s Iniochos and India’s Tarang Shakti, is planned and the report said there would also be an exchange of military personnel and cooperation in information, technology and innovation.

Houpis will discuss bilateral and regional security issues with his counterpart, General Anil Chauhan, and other senior officials, with arms issues also reportedly to be on the table although no details were given.

The focus will be on the Middle East and Greece’s participation in the European Operation Aspides operation in the Red Sea to prevent Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen from attacking commercial ships and cooperation with the Indian Navy, Ukraine and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).

The military cooperation program will start being implemented with Greek fighter jets heading to India for the first time for the Tarang Shakti maneuver in September, with four Greek pilots taking to the skies there.

Four French Rafale aircraft from the 332 Falcon Squadron are under consideration because they are used by India’s Air Force although it was said F-16 Vipers might also be included because they’re used by Pakistan, Indian pilots in mock dogfights with them.

Greece and India have begun cooperation in more sectors following a visit to Athens by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mitsotakis going to Delhi where he asked for India to play a leading role in international partnerships.

“We view India as one of the main pillars of stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region,” Mitsotakis said after his talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.  “This is certainly true for my country,” he added.

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