?he President of the Republic met with the Prime Minister of India

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, met today, at the Prime Minister’s Office, in New Delhi with the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi.

After the meeting President Anastasiades and Prime Minister Modi had a working lunch with the participation of the delegations of the two countries.

After the lunch the two sides signed bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding on culture, education and scientific cooperation, merchant shipping, air services an agriculture.

Later on the President and the Prime Minister made statements to the Media.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Modi said that I am delighted to welcome you, Excellency, on your first State Visit to India. I know that India has enjoyed a special place in the heart of every Cypriot President. Almost all of them have visited India. So, it is indeed an honour for me to welcome such a great friend and strong supporter of India. Cyprus and India share rich legacies of ancient civilizations and, our civilizations have influenced each other through millennia. In modern times, our relationship goes back to the pre-independence era, when our founding fathers supported the freedom struggle of Cyprus. And, Cyprus too has always reciprocated with its warmth and friendship. India has always stood by Cyprus on all crucial issues. In 1974, India took a firm stand in support of the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus. India has contributed personnel to the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus. Three force commanders from India served in this capacity, and it is heartening for me to know that all of them are fondly remembered in Cyprus.

Excellency, I am aware of your initiative for resolving the Cyprus issue. You have led from the front in trying to bring a new era of peace, development and security. Not just for Cyprus, but for the whole region. We wish you every success in your efforts. Under your leadership, Cyprus has successfully overcome its recent financial and banking challenges. And, recorded one of the highest growth rates in the Euro zone in 2016. Excellency, we commend your vision and leadership for taking your country out of this crisis and on to the path of economic prosperity.

Today, the President and I have had detailed discussions. Our conversation covered the full range of bilateral relationship. We also exchanged perspectives on important global and regional issues of mutual concern. Cyprus and India enjoy close economic ties. Cyprus is the 8th largest investor in India. Last year, to boost our capital and investment linkages, we have revised the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. The President and I agreed that India offers excellent investment opportunities for Cypriot entrepreneurs. The industry and business in our two economies can shape attractive partnerships through the flagship programmes launched by my Government. The beautiful landscapes of Cyprus and the wide horizons of ‘Incredible India’ can be a source of tourism promotion in both our countries.

India and Cyprus share the common objective of bringing about an early reform of the United Nations Security Council. Both of us believe that a reformed Security Council, reflective of the world as it is, and not as it was, is necessary to address the range of complex challenges facing the world today. Excellency, in this context, I deeply appreciate your support for India’s claim for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council. The President and I also discussed ways to strengthen our partnership in other inter-governmental organizations and regimes.

Given its location, Cyprus appreciates the threat that terrorism poses to the global peace and stability. India itself has been battling cross border terrorism for decades. We agreed that there is an urgent need for all countries to decisively act against those states who generate, support, shelter and sustain these factories of violence in our regions. The President and I discussed the need for creating a comprehensive global legal framework, particularly through early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.

Excellency, I share with you the strong commitment to take our bilateral engagement to a new level. I am confident that our discussion and decisions today will give a new direction and depth to our partnership. Let me welcome you once again to India, and wish you a fruitful and productive stay.

On his part President Anastasiades said that it is a distinct honor and pleasure to be paying a state visit to India following the invitation by Prime Minister Modi; this truly remarkable country with ancient roots, and an admirable modern global footprint. I have enormous respect and admiration for this great nation and its people.

I was deeply touched during my visit to the Gandhi smriti and the mausoleum of Gandhi, a world visionary who maintained a very special relationship with Cyprus that we treasure.

Our meeting today is yet another stepping stone in our common history. It has offered an opportunity to take stock of our relations, and explore concrete ways in which to take our relations forward, by identifying specific areas where we can work together to modernize our relationship and amplify the benefits for both sides.

I am particularly pleased that today we have signed four bilateral agreements in the important areas of Merchant Shipping, Aviation, Agriculture, as well as Cultural, Educational and Scientific Cooperation. These agreements further enhance the long-standing relations between our two countries, and add to the extensive existing legal framework, which includes 16 existing bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding.

Prime Minister Modi and I share the assessment that our bilateral relations are excellent, and we have discussed ways and areas where we must further promote the cooperation between India and Cyprus in the economic, investment and tourism fields.

We are ready to explore enhanced cooperation in fields such as renewable energy, solar energy, information technology and innovation where India is a pioneer. Cyprus welcomes the participation of Indian companies in the development of knowledge-based industries, and I would like to extend an invitation to Indian companies to consider investing in a technological park in Cyprus, which will provide them easy access to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Gulf Region.

Our cooperation at the multilateral level provides ample opportunity to intensify our efforts in addressing global and regional challenges. Cyprus and India, as we have noted earlier, are like-minded countries, and we will continue to promote our cooperation in order to contribute to stability, prosperity and security in the world. In this context, we exchanged views on developments in our respective regions and on international issues of common concern, such as migration and conflict resolution.

We also discussed EU-India relations and the potential that the strategic partnership between the two offers. The EU and India share common values, in particular as regards the rule of law, democracy, multilateralism, free and fair trade. Cyprus is a firm supporter of the enhancement of the EU-India strategic partnership and dynamic cooperation in all areas of mutual interest. In this context, I expressed our sincere support for tangible progress in the negotiations for the conclusion of an EU-India Free Trade Agreement.

In addition, Prime Minister Modi and I concurred on the crucial importance of the EU and India working closely together, with a view to effectively tackling major global challenges, such as climate change, sustainable development, the protection of maritime environment and international terrorism.

During our meeting today, I also had the opportunity to brief Prime Minister Modi on the latest developments in the negotiations for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, outlining the challenges we face and the stumbling blocks that inhibit further progress. I underlined our unwavering commitment to reunify our country and its people, in a functional and viable bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, in line with UN Security Council Resolutions and EU law, values and principles.

I wish to publicly express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Prime Minister, and the Indian government, for the principled stance and unequivocal support India offers to Cyprus in our efforts for a just solution, that will safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus. Cyprus is also deeply grateful for India’s long-standing troop and police contribution to UNFICYP.

Given the character of my state visit and the expansive discussions we had on the need to enhance our cooperation in sectoral areas, I am glad to announce the establishment of a ministerial working group the work of which will reinforce and provide much needed political direction to the work of the existing joint intergovernmental committee.

Closing, I would like to once again express my gratitude for the exceptional hospitality extended to me and my delegation on this visit, and to also extent an invitation to you dear Prime Minister to visit Cyprus thereby allowing us to reciprocate this exceptional hospitality.

Source: Press and Information Office