New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met Italian PM Giorgia Meloni at Hyderabad House in Delhi. They are to hold a bilateral meeting in the national capital.

"PM @narendramodi greets PM @GiorgiaMeloni of Italy before commencing bilateral talks at Hyderabad House. An expansive agenda covering political, trade & economic, defence, science & technology, energy, health, consular and cultural spheres awaits," tweeted the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

PM Meloni is the Chief Guest & Keynote Speaker at the 8th Raisina Dialogue 2023.

"Talks between PM @narendramodi and PM @GiorgiaMeloni commence. Leaders will exchange views on taking the multifaceted bilateral ties forward with a mutual commitment to foster growth, widen collaboration in various fields and deepen convergences on regional & global issues," tweeted Bagchi.

Earlier, Meloni paid her respects to Mahatma Gandhi by offering floral tributes at his memorial, Rajghat, on Thursday morning.

She was received by PM Modi in a ceremonial welcome accorded to the Italian premier at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

This is PM Meloni's first visit to India. According to the MEA spokesperson, the visit is tipped further strengthen and deepen the long-standing relationship between India and Italy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the multilateral conference, Raisina Dialogue, held annually in New Delhi.

The Ministry of External Affairs is organising the event in collaboration with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) from March 2-4.

Political relations between India and Italy were established in 1947. India and Italy completed 70 years of diplomatic ties in March 2018.

There has been a regular exchange of visits at political and official levels between both countries. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte visited India in October 2018 and signed agreements including the mutual agreement to counter terrorist financing and state sponsors of terrorism.

Also, both countries regularly interact through an institutionalised Senior Officials' Dialogue (Foreign Office Consultations), and the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation and India- Italy Technology Summit.

Italy also indicated its support for India's quest for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and also underlined Rome's support for India's membership in the global technology export groups.

Italy is India's fifth largest trading partner in the EU with a bilateral trade of USD 8.79 billion in 2016-17.

India's exports to Italy were at USD 4.90 billion, while its imports were at USD 3.89 billion, resulting in a trade imbalance of about USD 1 billion in favour of India.