India and Italy on Friday called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine and expressed concerns over the ongoing "humanitarian crisis" in that country even as they vowed to work closely in countering common challenges of terrorism, violent extremism and cybercrime.
The Ukraine crisis, along with the situation in Afghanistan, developments in the Indo-Pacific and pressing global challenges, figured prominently in the talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his visiting Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio on Friday.
In the discussions, the two foreign ministers agreed to explore partnerships in areas such as gas transportation, green hydrogen, biofuels and energy storage.
Both sides noted that there was potential for a closer India-Italy industrial collaboration in the defence sector, and vowed to work closely in countering common challenges of terrorism, violent extremism and cybercrime.
In a Twitter post, Di Maio described his talks with Jaishankar as "very productive" and added that countries like India are crucial for peace in Ukraine.
"A warm and productive meeting with FM @luigidimaio of Italy. Noted our expanding cooperation in cyber security, S&T and space sectors. Agreed that increasing interest of Italian companies in @makeinindia & transfer of technology will further advance our bilateral relationship," Jaishankar tweeted.
Di Maio arrived in India on Wednesday on a three-day visit against the backdrop of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
"On Ukraine, the two ministers expressed their concern on the ongoing humanitarian crisis and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities," a joint press statement on the Jaishankar-Di Maio talks said.
"They also underlined the importance to safeguard the international order based on the UN Charter, with special regard to the respect of sovereignty and territorial integrity," it said.
It said the two foreign ministers also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interests, including Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific, and cooperation in multilateral forums, including the G20.
According to the statement, Jaishankar and Di Maio reviewed the full spectrum of bilateral relations, including the progress in the implementation of the 2020-2024 'Action Plan' adopted in November 2020.
It said both sides welcomed the growing bilateral trade and investment linkages and agreed to expand them in new areas of common interest.
The two foreign ministers also discussed the implementation of the India-Italy Strategic Partnership on Energy Transition announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Italy last year.
The statement said the two sides agreed to explore partnerships in areas such as gas transportation, green hydrogen, biofuels and energy storage. "In addition, they agreed to jointly organise an India-Italy Tech Summit on Energy Transition and Circular Economy, to be held in Delhi on 17 November, 2022," it said.
"The two leaders noted the potential for closer industrial collaboration, including in the field of defence. They reiterated their commitment to closely work in countering common challenges related to terrorism, violent extremism and cyber crime," it added.