The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, reached Cyprus yesterday (September 2, 2018) on the first leg of his State Visit to three European nations – Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. He addressed the members of the House of Representatives of Cyprus today (September 3, 2018) in Nicosia.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said that relations between Cyprus and India are old, deep and have multiple facets. As ancient civilisations, our first priority is our people. The strong connection between the citizens of Cyprus and India is the most important source of our bilateral energy. From people-to-people contacts, we build economic and trade links, educational and intellectual connections, and a fruitful bilateral partnership. Then of course are issues of common concern and our mutual commitment to peace, security and sovereignty. This takes us to the multilateral sphere and to global matters, where inevitably we find ourselves on the same side.
The President said that India’s overriding mission is its economic growth and modernisation, with the fruits of development reaching all sections of our people. Cyprus, as a trusted partner and as one of the largest investors in India, is critical to this process. India is at an exciting juncture and offers appealing business opportunities. India’s GDP had grown at a scorching 8.2 per cent in the previous quarter. This is part of a trend of high growth over the past few years. It has made India the world’s fastest-growing large economy. The President invited Cyprus to partner in various initiatives of the Government of India. He said that India is open for business – and India is open for Cyprus.
The President said that earlier this year India co-founded and hosted the inaugural conference of the International Solar Alliance. The ISA is central to our effort to mobilise international resources and technologies to combat climate change. The scope for renewable energy is immense and will be crucial to checking rising temperatures and rising seas. As geographies marked by long coastlines as well as being blessed by sunshine, there is much Cyprus and India can do together. He invited Cyprus to become part of the ISA family.
The President said that as responsible nation-states, both Cyprus and India are alive to challenges in the international system. The continued relevance of a rules-based international order, for trade, for our sea lanes and the global maritime commons, and in other domains is an article of faith for us. The salience of national sovereignty and the essential need to defeat radicalism and terrorism unites us. In this regard, India has called for finalising the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations and we count on Cyprus’s support.
Earlier this morning (September 3, 2018), the President commenced his engagements with a visit to the Presidential Palace in Nicosia where he was received by his counterpart, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, and accorded a ceremonial welcome. He also paid his respects before the statue of Archbishop Makarios.
During the subsequent discussions, the President congratulated President Anastasiades on his recent re-election. The President said that his able leadership has impressed many. He has been successful in turning around the Cyprus economy. India appreciates his commitment to finding a viable solution to the Cyprus issue.
Subsequently, the President led delegation-level talks between the two sides. Speaking on the occasion, the President underlined the common values that mark India-Cyprus relations. India is the fastest growing major economy in the world, he said. This opens up opportunities for investments for Cyprus. Cyprus should look at not just portfolio investments but enter sectors such as infrastructure, real estate, renewable energy, pharma, wellness and healthcare.
Two bilateral agreements were signed just after the delegation-level talks. The first, between the Financial Intelligence Unit, India, and Unit for Combating Money Laundering of Cyprus, aims at sharing financial intelligence and fighting money laundering, terror financing and related crimes. The second agreement commits both countries to greater cooperation on environmental issues. The President also issued a media statement on his visit to Cyprus (attached).
Yesterday evening (September 2, 2018), the President addressed an impressive gathering of the Indian community in Nicosia at a reception hosted by Dr R.K. Raghavan, High Commissioner of India to Cyprus.
Addressing the gathering, the President was happy to note that the Indian community in Cyprus has integrated well and contributes to the economic development of Cyprus. The President spoke about various initiatives of the Government of India to boost its outreach to the Indian diaspora. He said the Government believes the overseas Indian community is a key partner in spreading the message of India.