India and Greece need to advance mutual cooperation and linkages and even should consider for formation of partnership in the current times, to combat the bewildering issue of the Turkey- Pakistan alliance in the Eurasian region.
This idea was talked about at a webinar on Friday titled, “Indo-Greek Cooperation: Countering the Turkey-Pakistan Nexus”, which was moderated by Gaurav Tyagi, an Asst. Professor at JNU and comprised of eminent scholars from India and Greece.
Relations between Greece and Turkey are at its nadir and both have almost come to brink of war over a range of issues on many occasions since 1970s. Both the countries have seen frequent flare-ups, but this latest quarrel over gas reserves and maritime rights has worried world the most. Similarly, India and Pakistan for long have been fighting over the Kashmir valley issue. The relation between the two has been tormented by cross-border terrorism, ceasefire violations, territorial disputes, etc.
On the other hand, Pakistan and Turkey enjoy friendly relations which are expanding and deepening. And this creates threat both for Greece and India, and is even the main reason why India and Greece need to aggravate mutual cooperation.
Andreas Mountzouroulias, the Editor-in-Chief of a Greek news platform Pentaspostagma said that both the countries are facing problems of terrorism due to their neighboring countries- Turkey and Pakistan and this is the perfect time to increase bilateral cooperation with each other to fight against such issues jointly. He even specified that both the countries are already holding joint military exercises, and that now they should form a military alliance and begin to hold military exercises together.
He professed that he is of view that Greece should start securing weapons from India and expressed his optimism on the possibility of India and Greece jointly developing weapon systems. “This would be the most effective way for India and Greece to counter the growing alliance between Turkey and Pakistan”, he said.
Emmanouil Fragkos, a Greek leader and Member of European Parliament (MEP) said Greece and India are the nations that have existed from much before than its neighbours- Turkey and Pakistan, who according to him “export instability”. Pakistan incessantly tries to interfere in India and its support to Taliban has led to the obliteration and ruination of Afghanistan. On the same line, Turkey interferes in the national functioning of other countries like Cyprus, Syria and Armenia.
He even mentioned the fact that how both the countries are violative of human rights in their nations. In Pakistan, Hindus and Christians have to face discrimination while in Turkey, Christians and Jews, that form a very small percentage of population are unjustifiably targeted. He accused that in Turkey, parliamentary organizations have targeted religious minorities for centuries. He even accused both the nations of sharing nuclear secrets.
John M. Nomikos, the Director of Athens based think tank- Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS) called Erdogan to be an authoritative leader who has been threatening Greece and rest of the EU with a million illegal immigrants, who primarily belong to Syria. Talking about the Turkish-Pakistani alliance, he said, that the most worrying aspect of the cooperation is the collaboration between the Turkish intelligence organization (MIT) and ISI.
Nomikos said that he hopes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should visit Greece in 2021 or that Greek president can visit New Delhi. He even said, “The Indian Navy and forces must begin to have a presence in the East Mediterranean and India and Greece must actively work towards strengthening ties with each other.”
Dr. Vandana Mishra, an Asst. Professor at JNU called attention on the recent incidents like the brutal beheading of a French teacher by one of his students, as a consequence of a debate about free speech and later Erdogan used this opportunity to depict himself as the protector of the Islamic faith.
Dr. Mishra even emphasized that on one hand Erdogan is trying to portray himself as a protector of Islam by growing alliance with Pakistan and on the other hand is trying to weaken other traditional leaders of the Islamic world like Saudi Arabia. She continued on this point by citing the fact that though Erdogan is trying hard to picturize himself as an Islamic protector but has till now not raised his voice against the issue of repression and mistreatment of Uyghurs with China.
Talking of the bilateral cooperation between India and Greece, she said that both the countries already have military and economic ties and alliances, but now more attention needs to be taken with respect to strengthening of the cultural ties. She further continued that strengthening of cultural ties between the two nations that share values and that have a rich history of civilizations, will only boost and strengthen strategic ties that would go a long way.
In the recent times, this emergence of Turkish-Pakistani axis has created a distant terror threat both to India and Greece, and this is the reason for natural consequence of Greece-India political and economic cooperation. The strategic partnership between India and Greece is not new but dates back to 2011, when both the countries agreed to cooperate on battling against terrorism and refuting pirates in the Indian ocean.