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India-Cyprus  

INDIA-CYPRUS BILATERAL RELATIONS

INDIA-CYPRUS BILATERAL RELATIONS

 

The diplomatic ties between India and Cyprus were established on 10 February 1962.  The relations between both countries are traditionally very close and friendly. India had supported the freedom struggle of Cyprus and consequently supporting the solution of the Cyprus problem, based on UNSC resolutions, international law and the EU acquis. Cyprus supported India on crucial issues including India’s election to UNSC, the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement, the NSG and the IAEA. Cyprus assisted India in evacuation of Indians from Lebanon, under operation Sukoon in 2006Cyprus also supported India post-Shakti series of nuclear tests, on the issues of Pulwama terrorist attack and article 370.

2.       There have been several goodwill gestures between the two countries, marking their special regard and gratitude for each other. India has named an avenue in New Delhi in honour of Archbishop Makarios, the first President of Republic of Cyprus. Cyprus issued two postal stamps on the occasion of Centenary Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 1970.  A bust of Mahatma Gandhi was installed in the garden of the Parliament of Cyprus in July 1972 and the avenue in the front of bust was named as “Jawaharlal Nehru Avenue” in 1983. On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary, Cyprus issued a commemorative stamp on 10 September 2019. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with President Anastasiades during the UNGA in New York on 26 September 2019 and also at CHOGM in London on 20 April 2018.

3.    External Affairs Minister had a virtual meeting with H.E. Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Cyprus on 16 February 2021. Both Ministers undertook a detailed review of bilateral ties, underpinned by long-standing historical and friendly relations as well as commonality of views on major international issues. The two Ministers appreciated the upward trajectory in the bilateral ties witnessed in the recent years and agreed to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, economic cooperation and people to people ties. Possibilities of cooperation to counter the COVID pandemic were also discussed. Both Ministers also discussed a wide range of regional and multilateral issues especially in the context of India’s membership in the UNSC.

4.     India had three force commanders serving in Cyprus since the establishment of the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in 1964 – Lieutenant General PS Gyani, General KS Thimayya and Major General Diwan Prem Chand. General KS Thimayya, who died in harness in 1965, was honored by a commemorative stamp and naming an avenue in Cyprus in his memory in 1966. At present, one officer from Indian Army is serving in the UNPOL.

High-Level Visits:

5.       India-Cyprus political relations have been strengthened through a series of high-level visits. The most recent high-level visit from Cyprus was that of President Nicos Anastasiades from 24-29 April 2017 followed by the visit of President Ram Nath Kovind to Cyprus from 2-4 September 2018. Earlier visits to Cyprus include that of President V.V. Giri (July 1972), President R. Venkataraman (September 1988), Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (September 1983), Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee (October 2002) and President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil (October 2009).

6.       Parliamentary exchanges include visits of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, Mr. A. Ghalanos in 1995 followed by Dr. Najma Heptullah, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha and Shri S. Malikarjunaiah, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha to Cyprus in 1996. Two members of the House of Representatives of Cyprus attended the International Parliamentary Conference to mark the Golden Jubilee of the Parliament of India, held in New Delhi in January 2003. More recently, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel, MP attended the 45th Regional Conference of the British Islands and Mediterranean Region held in Cyprus (May 2015).

7.       Ministerial Visits:

India

  • Shri M.J. Akbar, MoS (MEA) from 30 March- 01 April 2017;
  • Smt Preneet Kaur, MoS (MEA) in April 2013;
  • Shri Pranab Mukherjee, EAM in May 2007;

 

Cyprus

  • Mr Giorgios Lakkotrypis, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism to participate in Petrotech and India-Europe 29 Business Forum (Dec 2016);
  • Mr Ioannis Kasoulides, Foreign Minister to attend ASEM FFM 11 (Nov 2013);
  • Mr Sofoclis Albert Aletraris, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environment to attend COP-11 to CBD in Hyderabad (October 2012);
  • Mr Markos Kyprianou, Foreign Minister of Cyprus in April 2011;
  • Mr Antonis Paschalides, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in October 2010;

 

8.       Institutional Mechanism:

(i)      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. 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. The 5th round of Foreign Office Consultations at the level JS(CE) and Political Director were held virtually on 10 December 2020.

(ii)     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 latest ninth session of JEC was held in virtual mode on 21 October 2021.

(iii)    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.

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

9.       Agreements/MOUs signed between India and Cyprus:

S.No.Agreement/MoU

1.

Agreement for Economic, Trade, Scientific, Technical and Industrial Cooperation was signed on 13 April 1989. The first meeting of the JEC was held in Nicosia in May 1992 and the latest ninth session of JEC was held in virtual mode on 21 October 2021.

2.

A Programme for Cooperation (PoC) in the field of agriculture was signed in 1992. A work plan under this had been signed on 28 April 2017.

3.

Agreement for the Double Taxation Avoidance and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion was signed on 13 June 1994. This was further revised on 18 November 2016.

4.

Air Services Agreement was signed on 28 April 2017.

5.

Agreement for the Mutual Promotion & Protection of Investments was signed on 09 April 2002.

6.

MoU providing for joint research and development projects and joint ventures in the field of S&T was signed on 8 October 2002.

7.

Abolition of Visa Requirement for holders of Diplomatic and Official/Service Passports was signed in May 2007.

8.

Combating International Terrorism, Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking was signed on 25 May 2007 (registered with the UNSG Secretariat in 2008).

9.

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 was signed on 06 June 2014.

10.

Cooperation in the area of environment was signed on 03 September 2018.

11.

Exchange of information on Money-laundering between FIU of India and MOKAS Cyprus was signed on 03 September 2018.

10.       Economic Relations:

Bilateral Trade:

Bilateral trade between India and Cyprus has steadily increased over the recent years, however is still below the potential. The figures for the last four years are as follows:

Trade figures

(All figures Euro mln)

 20172018201920202021
(Jan-Sep)

Cyprus Global Imports

8041

9200

8235

7503

6109

Cyprus Imports from India

73,11

58,1

83

76,14

60

Cyprus Global Exports

1540

4309

3146

2741

2137

Cyprus Exports to India

19,22

12,97

16,2

21,65

12

Cyprus Global Trade

958

1350

11381

10244

8246

Cyprus – India Trade

92

71

99

97,79

72

Cyprus Balance of Trade

(-) 5,13

(-) 4,89

(-) 5,089

(-) 4,76

(-)3972

India – Cyprus Balance of Trade

54

46

67

54,49

48

(Source: Cyprus Statistics Service)

Major items of export from India: Organic Chemicals, Pharmaceutical Products,

Fish and Crustaceans, Molluscs and other Acquatic Invertebrates, Iron & Steel, Ceramic products, Electrical Machinery and Equipment and parts thereof, Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and parts and accessories of such articles.

Major items of export from Cyprus: Ships, Boats and Floating Structures, Aluminium and articles thereof, Pulp of Wood or of other Fibrous Cellulosic Material, recovered (waste and scrap) paper or paperboard, Copper and articles thereof, Iron and Steel, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances.

FDI: Cyprus is among the top 10 investors in India with cumulative investments of US$ 10.757 billion during April 2000 – June 2020 (DIPP estimates). These investments as FDI equity inflows were in sectors including services, computer and software, auto manufacture, manufacturing industries, real estate, cargo handling, construction, shipping and pharmaceuticals. The revised India Cyprus DTAA was signed on 18 November 2016 in Nicosia. Subsequently, India rescinded the classification of Cyprus in the “Notified Jurisdictional Area” as from the 01 November 2013. The revised agreement provides for source-based taxation for gains.

Invest India & Invest Cyprus MoU: Invest India and Invest Cyprus signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 09 December 2021 in the presence of High Commissioner of India to Cyprus H.E. Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat and High Commissioner of India H.E. Agis Loisou. The MoU aims at strengthening bilateral efforts for increasing mutual investment activities and support business cooperation between India & Cypriot companies.

On 14 June 2021, India put Republic of Cyprus in Category-I of Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs). Republic of Cyprus has now been specified as an eligible country for the purpose of regulations 5 (a) (iv) of SEBI (FBI) Regulations 2019. This development signed new opportunities for further growth for the fund industry in Cyprus.

11.     Cultural Relations:

India and Cyprus enjoy vibrant cultural relations. There are lot of commonalities between the cultures, values and ethos of both countries. To highlight these aspects, the High Commission of India has been organizing various events including film festivals, Photo Exhibitions, Dance/music performances in Cyprus. High Commission also celebrates Indian National Days (Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanthi and Republic Day) and International Day of Yoga every year with large participation of Ministers and officials from the Cypriot government, diplomats, friends of India and Indian diaspora. A large number of events were organized by the High Commission to commemorate 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi from 2018-20. High Commission had also established many Indian book corners in various institutions across Cyprus.

Celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM events): A number of events have been organised to commemorate 75 years of Independence of India commenced from March 2021 under ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ initiative. The list of events may be seen at https://hci.gov.in/nicosia/?13230?000 External website that opens in a new window

12.     Indian community: The Indian community in Cyprus comprises of around 7152 professionals in shipping, IT, pharma, students, farmhands and domestic workers.

13.     COVID-19: A Charter Flight, in association with Indian associations in Cyprus, was arranged from Larnaca to Delhi to repatriate stranded Indians. The flight departed from Cyprus on 15 July 2020 carrying 137 passengers.

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

Twitter: HCI_Nicosia.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9wVQt4-hZElhyvquXJN16g  External website that opens in a new window

Updated till Dec 2021.

 
 
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