Greece–India relations

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Greek-Indian relations
Map indicating locations of Greece and India



Greece-Indian relations are the relations between Greece and India. Greece has an embassy in New Delhi and three honorary consulates in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. India has an embassy in Athens.

Historical relations

Ancient Time

For the Greeks "India" meant only the upper Indus till the time of Alexander the Great. After "India" meant to the Greeks most of the northern half of the Indian subcontinent.

Ctesias in his work Indika (Greek: Ινδικά), records the beliefs and view of the Persians about India.

Alexander the Great and his army fought the Indian army of King Porus at the Indian campaign of Alexander the Great and later in another Greek invasion Chandragupta Maurya of India defeated Seleucus 1.

Part of today's India became the Indo-Greek kingdoms founded by the successor of Alexander the Great. (Greek conquests in India)

The Greek ethnographer and explorer of the Hellenistic period, Megasthenes was the ambassador of Seleucus I at India. In his work, Indika (Greek: Ινδικά), he wrote the history of Indians and their culture. Megasthenes also mentions about the prehistoric arrival of Dionysus and Hercules (Megasthenes' Herakles) in India.

Dionysius was also a Greek ambassador at India, sent by Ptolemy Philadelphus.

The Heliodorus pillar is a stone column that was erected around 110 BCE in present-day central India in Vidisha near modern Besnagar, by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador of the Indo-Greek king Antialcidas to the court of the Shunga king Bhagabhadra. The site is located only 5 miles from the Buddhist stupa of Sanchi.

The Greek historian Apollodorus and the Roman historian Justin, affirm that the Bactrian Greeks conquered India. Justin, also describe Demetrius I as "King of the Indians". Greek and Indian sources indicate that the Greeks campaigned as far as Pataliputra until they were forced to retreat following a coup in Bactria in 170 BC.

The Greek sophist Philostratus, in his work Life of Apollonius, mention that the Greek philosopher Apollonius have travelled to India.

The King Phraotes received a Greek education at the court of his father and spoke Greek fluently.[1]

Buddhism flourished under the Indo-Greeks, leading to the Greco-Buddhist cultural syncretism. The arts of the Indian sub-continent were also quite affected by Hellenistic art during and after these interactions.

18th-19th century

Dimitrios Galanos (Greek: Δημήτριος Γαλανός, 1760–1833) was the earliest recorded Greek Indologist. His translations of Sanskrit texts into Greek made knowledge of the philosophical and religious ideas of India available to many Europeans. A "Dimitrios Galanos" Chair for Hellenic Studies was established at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India in September 2000.

Modern Time

Relations between Greece and India started in May 1950. India opened its resident Embassy in Athens in March 1978. The new Greek Embassy building in New Delhi was inaugurated on 6 February 2006.

Three Indian companies were having parteners in Greece and 15 Greek companies are operating in India.

The graves of Indians who died in Greece during the two World Wars are located in the memorial grounds of the cemeteries of the Allied Forces in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Thessaloniki was twinned with Kolkata at January 2005.

About 12,000-13,000 Indian people live at Greece.

According to a 2013 BBC World Service Poll, only 18% of Greeks view India's influence positively, with 36% expressing a negative view.[2]

List of recent bilateral visites

List of bilateral treaties

Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Dimitris Kourkoulas and Deputy Minister of External Affairs of India Preneet Kaur.
  • Agreement on Cultural Exchange, 1961
  • Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation, 1967
  • Agreement for Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, 1983.
  • Joint Business Council of FICCI and ASSOCHAM and the Athens Chamber of Commerce, 1996.
  • Agreement of Cooperation between Hellenic Foreign Trade Board and India *Trade Promotion Organisation, 1996.
  • Agreement on Tourism Cooperation, 1998.
  • MOU on Defence Cooperation, 1998.
  • MOU for Cooperation in Agriculture, 2001.
  • Agreement on Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments (BIPA), 2007.
  • Agreement on Cooperation in Science & Technology, 2007.
  • MOU between CII and Federation of Greek Industries, 2007.
  • MOU for Cooperation between Institute of Science, Bangalore and *National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), 2007

See also


Further reading

External Links & References