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.
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.
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 Herakles (Megasthenes' Herakles) in India.
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.
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.
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.
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 partners in Greece and 15 Greek companies are operating in India.
Thessaloniki was twinned with Kolkata at January 2005.
About 12,000-13,000 Indian people live in Greece.
List of recent bilateral visites
- In December 2000, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou visited India.
- In February 2001, Prime Minister of Greece Kostas Simitis visited India.
- In September 2006, Speaker of the Lok Sabha Somnath Chatterjee visited Greece.
- In April 2007, President of India Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam made an unofficial visit to Athens.
List of bilateral treaties
- 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
- "India in Greece" by E.Pococke (1852)
- "The shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies" by Thomas McEvilley