Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry of India, is paying Cyprus an official visit on February 13. According to an announcement sent to the press by the Indian High Commission in Nicosia, the visit will be the first at Ministerial level since the National Democratic Alliance Government took over in India in May 2014.
In the announcement is pointed out that the relations between India and Cyprus have been traditionally very close and friendly. India has consistently and unwaveringly supported sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus and a peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem. India and Cyprus also cooperate closely at the UN, international organisations, Commonwealth and ASEM. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led negotiations since May 2015, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
The main objective of the visit is to review present state of India-Cyprus relations in all fields and rejuvenate for further deepening and expanding historic friendly relations between the two countries. The visit will provide an excellent opportunity to exchange views on matters of mutual interest and concerns and on regional and international developments.
It is recalled that Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism Yiorgos Lakkotrypis in December last year led the Cyprus delegations for participation at the Petrotech 2016 and India-Europe 29 Business Forum held in New Delhi.
The Minister will be meeting Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Minister for Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism and Harris Georgiades, Minister of Finance.
The Minister will also address the Board of Directors of the Cyprus Chambers of Commerce & Industry and President of the Cyprus-India Business Association (CIBA).
According to the announcement, 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 last session of the JEC was held through video conferencing on 8 June 2016.
The annual India Cyprus bilateral trade is around Euros 76 million. There is scope for improvement and both sides have been making efforts in this regard. 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.
Cyprus is 8th largest foreign investor in India. The cumulative investments through Cyprus are over US$ 8.933 billion from April 2000 to September 2016. The revised India – Cyprus DTAA was signed on 18 November in Nicosia. As a result of this positive development, Cyprus was removed from the “Notified Jurisdiction Area” list.
During her stay in Cyprus, the Minister will inaugurate “Konark Wheel” sculpture gifted by India to Cyprus and installed at the Open Air Museum of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This gesture of the Government of India is to enhance India-Cyprus relations the area of culture to promote appreciation of cultural heritage and understanding which is so vital in a region suffering from instability, destruction due to radicalisation and terrorism.