A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in Athens on Saturday in honor of the Indian activist who employed nonviolent resistance to lead the successful campaign for India’s independence from British rule.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar attended the unveiling near the Indian embassy in the city.
Gandhi statue in Athens honors “outstanding figure”
Dendias said that Gandhi was among the most important of the world’s leaders in the 20th century and an outstanding figure in the history of humanity. “The generations of people that are coming have much to learn from his work, his career and his life,” he added.
Greece and India were honoring his memory in the most appropriate way, by “promoting and working for world peace, stability and understanding between people and to avoid violence in relations between states,” he added.
“I am sure that Mahatma Gandhi will not feel bad in this position, in the center of the city of Athens. He will not feel any “loneliness.” His statue is located very close to the embassy of his homeland, India, to which he dedicated his life. “But it will also be close to the thousands of Greeks who pass through this point every day,” Dendias said.
Jaishankar said that Gandhi’s message was both universal and timeless, adding that this was recognized throughout the world.
Joined FM @NikosDendias and Mayor of Athens @KBakoyannis at the unveiling of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue. The universality and timelessness of the Mahatma’s message is recognised around the world. pic.twitter.com/ze9Xlxr96O
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) June 26, 2021
Gandhi’s vision of an independent India based on religious pluralism has inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world. The honorific Mahātmā (Sanskrit: “great-souled”, “venerable”), first applied to him in 1914 in South Africa, is now used throughout the world.
Greece and India to forge closer relations
During the visit of Jaishankar in Athens, Greece and India agreed to work to strengthen bilateral ties and work toward a strategic partnership.
“We have a comfortable relationship, but so far not an ambitious relationship,” Jaishankar said. “There is much more we can do.” His visit to Greece is the first by an Indian foreign minister in 18 years.
The top Indian diplomat also had a meeting with Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who said that Greece and India emphasized the importance they attach to international law, the law of the sea and the principles of the United Nations.
Mitsotakis said that Greece considers relations with India to be of great importance, noting that Greece and India were both countries with civilizations that stretched back many centuries.
Earlier, during a meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and his Indian counterpart, there was a discussion on the prospects of establishing strategic cooperation in an area of mutual interest that the two countries will choose in order to give a new boost to bilateral relations.