Cyprus and India have placed strong focus on further strengthening their bilateral relations. What are the key pillars that form this diplomatic relationship and how do you see this partnership developing in the future?
Cyprus-India relations have deep history and are based on solid political, economic, and cultural foundations. Our bilateral cooperation has always been and remains dynamic and ever evolving.
On the political front, India maintains a principled stance on the Cyprus question. We are grateful to India for its staunch support to our efforts to reach a viable and comprehensive solution leading to the reunification of our country, in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
On the economic front, India is a priority country in Cyprus' Strategy for Economic Diplomacy. In the last three years, Cyprus has been among the top 10 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) countries in India, investing in sectors such as Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services, pharmaceuticals, shipping, manufacturing and construction. Furthermore, we will continue to strengthen the economic ties between Cyprus and India in areas such as renewable energy, trade, shipping, research and innovation, tourism and in the field of digital cooperation.
In the field of connectivity, we have welcomed the recent announcement of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) and we believe that Cyprus, with its strategic geographical location, can contribute to the realisation of this significant project.
Cyprus can also serve as a bridge, connecting India to Europe, and thus bringing together people, cultures and civilisations. Cyprus attaches high importance to the EU-India strategic partnership, which we view as key in strengthening a rules-based international order and as an important parameter for addressing global challenges. In this respect, we will continue to be vocal in our support for a free trade agreement between the European Union and India.
In recent years, we have strengthened our diplomatic presence in India by establishing a commercial office at the High Commission of Cyprus in New Delhi in 2022, and we are planning to open an Honorary Consulate in Mumbai in the next year.
In the past five months, I had the pleasure to meet twice with my Indian counterpart, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and in those meetings we had the opportunity to discuss practical ways on how to maximise the mutual benefit in our relationship. Our meetings have been building on Dr Jaishankar’s recent visit to Cyprus in December 2022, when three important bilateral documents were signed: a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence and Military Cooperation, a framework agreement on International Solar Alliance, and a Declaration of Intent on Migration and Mobility. Further exchange of high-level visits in 2024 will add to the existing momentum.
India is a valuable global partner for Cyprus. Our relationship has deep roots, historical basis and great potential for the future. We will continue to work steadfastly in bringing our two countries closer, for our mutual benefit.