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India-Cyprus  

INDIA-CYPRUS BILATERAL RELATIONS

I.          Political Relations:

Relations between India and Cyprus have been traditionally very close and friendly. Archbishop Makarios had the highest respect for Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. He was deeply appreciative of the support rendered by India to the struggle of Cyprus against British colonial rule. India has consistently and unwaveringly supported sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus and a peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem. Cyprus too has staunchly supported India on all issues of importance including publicly endorsing its support to India’s bid for a permanent seat in the reformed UNSC. 

There have been several goodwill gestures marking their special regard for and gratitude to India.  A bust of Mahatma Gandhi was installed in the Nicosia Municipal Park near the Parliament House in July 1972 on the occasion of the visit of President V.V. Giri, the only bust of foreign leader in the park. The avenue on which the House of Representatives (Cyprus Parliament) is located was named after Jawaharlal Nehru during the visit of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983. The street on which the High Commission premises and India House are located is named after Indira Gandhi. India has also named an avenue in New Delhi after Archbishop Makarios.

Since 1964 establishing the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), India has contributed three force commanders – Lieutenant General PS Gyani, General KS Thimayya, who died in harness in 1965, and Major General Diwan Prem Chand.  The main road through Larnaca/Cyprus (East to West) were renamed as Gen Thimayya Road in his memory.  The Republic of Cyprus, also honored him by issuing a commemorative stamp in his memory in 1966.  At present India has a small civilian police contingent in the UNPOL. 

Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi met with President Anastasiades on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York on 25 September 2015.

High Level Visits:

Over the years, India-Cyprus political relations have been maintained and strengthened through a series of high level visits. 

From the Cyprus side: Almost all the Presidents of the Republic of Cyprus have paid State visits to India.  The last high-level visit from Cyprus was that of President Nicos Anastasiades who paid a State visit to India from April 24-29, 2017.

From the Indian side: President V.V. Giri (July 1972), and President R. Venkataraman (September 1988) visited Cyprus. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s historic visit in September 1983 remains etched in public memory and is recalled as a significant milestone in India’s relations with Cyprus.  Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Cyprus in October 2002. The last high-level visit from India was that of President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil who paid a State visit to Cyprus in October 2009.

Ministerial and Other Visits:

From the Indian side : Speaker, Shri Shivraj V. Patil led a Parliamentary delegation to Cyprus in September 1992 at the invitation of the President of the House of Representatives.  In 1996, Dr. Najma Heptullah, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Shri S. Malikarjunaiah, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha visited Cyprus. An Indian parliamentary delegation led by Hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha Shri Somnath Chatterjee, visited Cyprus to participate in the mid-Year Executive Committee Meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Meeting held in Limassol in April 2007. Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, MP attended the 45th Regional Conference of the British Islands and Mediterranean Region held in Limassol, Cyprus from 24 to  May 2015. Shri M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External  Affairs visited Cyprus from March 30 to April 1, 2017.

From the Cyprus side: The President of the House of Representatives, Mr. A. Ghalanos visited India in 1995. There was a return visit by an Indian Parliamentary delegation in 1996.  Two members of the House of Representatives attended the International Parliamentary Conference to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Parliament of India, held in New Delhi in January 2003. 

 

Recent Ministerial Visits:

 From India:

  • Shri M.J. Akbar, MoS(EA) from March 30 to April 1, 2017
  • Smt. Preneet Kaur, MOS (EA) in April 2013. 
  • Shri Pranab Mukherjee, EAM in May 2007 

 

From Cyprus:

  • Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Antonis Paschalides visited India in October 2010.   
  • The Foreign Minister of Cyprus, Mr. Markos Kyprianou paid an official visit to India from Apri17-19, 2011 at the invitation of EAM.
  • Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment Sofoclis Albert Aletraris visited India to attend the COP-11 to CBD (October 8-19, 2012) in Hyderabad. 
  • The current Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides visited India in November 2013 for the ASEM FFM 11.
  • Mr. Marios Demetriades, Minister of Communications and Works was on a two-day visit to India in March 2015 to canvass support for Cypriot candidate for the post of Secretary General of IMO.
  • Mr. Giorgios Lakkotrypis, Minister for Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism December 2016 to participate in Petrotech and India Europe 29 Business Forum

 

Bilateral Institutional Arrangements:

Foreign Office Consultations:  In March 2001, the two sides signed a protocol institutionalizing Foreign Office consultations (FOC) on an annual basis, at the level of Secretary, alternately in Nicosia and New Delhi.  So far three rounds have been held (2001- Nicosia, 2004 and 2009 in New Delhi). Interim talks at the level of Joint Secretary (Central Europe) from the Ministry of External Affairs and Political Director in the Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs were held on November 11, 2014 in Nicosia.

Joint Economic Committee: India and Cyprus signed an Agreement on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Industrial Co-operation in April 1989, following which the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) was established.  The first meeting of the JEC was held in Nicosia in May 1992 and the last session through video conferencing on 8 June 2016.

Joint Working Group (JWG) on Science & Technology (S&T):  In order to facilitate cooperation in Science & Technology, with the possibility of commercial application in this field, a MoU providing for joint research and development projects and joint ventures in S&T was signed in October 2002. The first meeting of the JWG was held in New Delhi in November 2005.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of Information Technology (IT):  The MoU on IT and Services was signed in October 2002. The Cypriot side has a common JWG to implement the MoU on S&T and the MoU on IT.  The first meeting of the JWG on S&T was held in New Delhi in 2005.

Cyprus-India Business Association (CIBA):  In September 2005, Cyprus-India Business Association (CIBA), was established under the auspices of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce. 

 Agreements/MOUs signed between India and Cyprus:

 

  • Agreement for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Industrial Cooperation:  Signed on April 13, 1989;
  • Cooperation in the field of Agriculture: A Programme for Cooperation (PoC) in the field of agriculture was signed with Cyprus in 1992; 
  • Agreement for the Double Taxation Avoidance and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion:  Signed on 13 June 1994;
  • Agreement on Merchant Shipping:  Signed on February 11, 1997;
  • Air Services Agreement: Signed on December 18, 2000;
  • Agreement for the Mutual Promotion & Protection of Investments:  Signed on April 9, 2002;
  • MoU on Information Technology and Services: Signed on 8 October 2002;
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Posts and Telecommunications: Signed on 8 October 2002;
  • Agreement for Cooperation in the Field of Public Health and Medical Sciences:  Signed on 8 October 2002;
  • MoU on Cooperation in the field of S&T:  MoU providing for joint research and development projects and joint ventures was signed on 8 October 2002.  
  • Abolition of Visa Requirement for holders of Diplomatic and Official/Service Passports:  Signed in May 2007;
  • Executive Programme on Cultural, Educational and Scientific Cooperation:  Signed in May 2007;
  • Combating International Terrorism, Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking:  Signed on 25 May, 2007 and registered with the UNSG Secretariat in 2008;
  • Agreement of Cooperation between School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, JNU, New Delhi and Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Letters, University of Cyprus : Signed on 6 June, 2014;
  • Agreement for the Double Taxation Avoidance and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion:  Signed on 18  November, 2016 (revised).
  • Executive Programme on Culture, Education and Scientific Cooperation (EPCEC) for 2017-2020 – signed on 28.4.2017
  • Merchant Shipping Agreement – signed on 28.4.2017
  • Work Plan under Programme of Cooperation in the Field  of Agriculture for 2017-18 signed on 28.4.2017
  • Civil Air Services Agreementsigned on 28.4.2017

 

II.         Economic Relations:

Trade Relations: Bilateral trade between India and Cyprus has increased over the recent years.  The figures for the last three years are given below:

Figures in Millions of US $

Year

India’s Exports

India’s Imports

Total Volume

Balance of trade

2013-14

61.57

20.31

81.88

(+) 41.26

2014-15

51.11

22.82

73.93

(+) 28.20

2015-16

59.80

48.18*

107.98

(+)11.62

 

*The increase in India’s import is on account of import of one vessel valued at US$ 30.09 million.

(Source: Deptt. of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, India)

Major items of exports from India: Organic chemicals, oil seed, oleagi fruits, fish & other aquatic invertebrate, vehicles & accessories and Iron & steel.

Major imports from Cyprus: Aluminium & articles thereof, pulp of wood, iron & steel, machinery, boilers, engines, plastic and articles thereof.

FDI:  Cyprus is the 8th largest FDI investor in India.  From April 2000 to December 2016, the cumulative investment flows to India from Cyprus were US $ 9.111 billion (Source: DIPP, India). The FDI is mainly in the sectors of construction and real estate activities.

III.        Indian community:

The Indian community stands at around 5400.  While the number of permanent residents is very small, the major chunk of the community consists of domestic workers (2786), Indian students studying in private colleges in Cyprus(2000),farm workers, professionals, computer engineers, software programmers. Besides software development, the other MNCs employing Indians include those dealing in merchant shipping, shipping management banking, tourism, tobacco industry, and market research companies. Useful references: 

Useful references: 

High Commission of India, Nicosia website: http://hci.gov.in/nicosia/ External website that opens in a new window

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/indiaincyprus External website that opens in a new window

 

May 1 2017

 

 
 
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