India: Italian foreign minister to talk trade and terrorism

New Delhi, 9 Oct. (AKI) - Terrorism and trade will top the agenda when Italy's foreign minister, Massimo D'Alema, arrives in India to meet the prime minister and senior government officials for talks late Tuesday.

D'Alema is scheduled to meet Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and the minister for foreign affairs, Pranab Mukherjee, in New Delhi on Wednesday.

As the death toll rises after three days of bloody clashes between Pakistan security forces and pro-Taliban militants in the Waziristan region bordering Afghanistan, peace and stability in the region is expected to be a priority in the bilateral meetings.

Italy has a direct interest in the peace of the region with more than 2,000 troops participating in the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

The war on terror, nuclear non-proliferation and defence co-operation are expected to dominate security issues, while both countries also want to focus on bilateral trade and investment.

Total trade between India and Italy reached 4.2 billion dollars in the first half of 2007, from 3.4 billion dollars in the same period in 2006. Italian investment in India in 2006 totalled 238 million dollars, behind Britain, Holland, France and Germany.

Before arriving in India, D'Alema completed a three-day visit to Vietnam (Photo) where he met the president of the republic Nguyen Minh Triet and prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

During his visit, the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Piaggio announced its foray into the Vietnamese market with the launch of a new production plant with the capacity to manufacture 100,000 Vespa scooters a year.

The company is investing up to 30 million dollars in the new plant which is part of a strategic plan to expand in Asia.

"With this initiative the group is undertaking the largest investment by an Italian business in Vietnam, an extraordinarily young and rapidly growing country," said Piaggio group chairman and chief executive, Roberto Colaninno.


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