INDIA-CYPRUS BILATERAL RELATIONS
INDIA-CYPRUS BILATERAL RELATIONS
India and Cyprus have been traditionally very close and friendly. Diplomatic ties between Cyprus and India were established on 10 February 1962. India had consistently supported the freedom struggle of Cyprus and subsequently solution of the Cyprus problem, based on UNSC resolutions, international law and the EU acquis. Cyprus has been equally suppportive of India on crucial issues including India’s election as non-permanent member of the UNSC, the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement, within the NSG and the IAEA. In 2006, Cyprus assisted India in evacuation of Indians from Lebanon, under operation Sukoon. Cyprus also supported India post-Shakti series of nuclear tests, on the issues of Pulwama terrorist attack and article 370.
2. There have been several good will gestures between the two countries, marking their special regard and gratitude. On the occasion of Centenary Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Cyprus issued two postal stamps in 1970. Mahatma Gandhi’s bust, was installed in the garden of the Parliament of Cyprus in July 1972, the only one of a foreign leader and the avenue was named “Jawaharlal Nehru” in 1983. India has also named an avenue in New Delhi in honour of Archbishop Makarios. On the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Birth Anniversary, Government of Cyprus issued a commemorative stamp on 10 September 2019. PM Shri 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. Following 2014 & 2019 parliamentary elections in India, President Anastasiades, FM Kasoulides and President House of Representatives sent letters of felicitation to PM, EAM and Speaker of Lok Sabha respectively.
3. 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, India has six members contingent in the UNPOL comprising of five civilian police officers and one officer from Indian Army.
High Level Visits:
4. 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 April 24-29, 2017 followed by the state visit of President Ram Nath Kovind to Cyprus from September 2-4, 2018. Earlier visits include that of President V.V. Giri (July 1972), President R. Venkataraman (September 1988) to Cyprus. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (September 1983), Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Cyprus (October 2002) and President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil (October 2009).
5. 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). A three Member Indian Parliamentary Delegation attended the meeting of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly (APA) standing committee on Economic and sustainable development in Cyprus (25-28 June, 2018) wherein Dr. Sanjay Jaiswal, MP (Lok Sabha), leader of delegation met Mr. Demetris Syllouris, the President of the House of Representatives.
6. Ministerial Visits:
7. 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.
(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 session through video conferencing on 8 June 2016.
(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
8. Agreements/MOUs signed between India and Cyprus:
9. Economic Relations:
FDI: Cyprus is 8th top investor 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 1st of November 2013. The revised agreement provides for source based taxation for gains.
10. Trade Relations:
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:
Cyprus Global Trade and Cyprus – India Trade figures
(2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 (Jan-June)
(All figures Euro mln)
(Source: Cyprus Statistics Service)
Major items of export from India: Organic Chemicals, Oil Seeds and Oleaginous Fruits, Miscellaneous Grains, Seeds and Fruit, Industrial or Medicinal Plants, Straw and Fodder, Fish and Crustaceans, Molluscs and other Acquatic Invertebrates, Boilers, Machinery and Mechanical Appliances, Electrical Machinery and Equipment and parts thereof, Sound Recorders and Reproducers, Television Image and parts and accessories of such articles, Rubber and articles thereof and Pharmaceutical Products.
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.
11. Cultural Relations:
India and Cyprus enjoy vibrant cultural relations. High Commission of India has organized film festivals, exhibitions, dance/music performances regularly. High Commission established many Indian book corners in various institutions across Cyprus. National Days, Commemorative events for celebration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and International Day of Yoga were celebrated with much vigour and attended by dignitaries, distinguished diplomats, media and Indian diaspora. Cypriot government also issued commemorative postal stamps on the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. A musical event of Mahesh Kale, folk music show of Masoom Sharma and classical dance performance of Bala Devi Chandrashekhar were organised in 2019. ICCR deputed Teacher of Indian Culture was regularly conducting free yoga sessions. To promote Hindi, free Hindi classes are being organised every week. During the COVID-19 lockdown period, the High Commission regularly organised virtual sessions on Yoga and Ayurveda. Virtual sessions were organised to spread importance of Ayurveda and Yoga as a tool of self-care and immunity boosting measures.
High Commission of India in Nicosia commemorated the grand finale of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi throughout the week from 28 September to 02 October, 2020 with series of events including Photo Exhibition on ‘Life of Mahatma Gandhi’ at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus and inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, Foreign Minister of Cyprus (28 Sep, 2020); Tree Plantation at Eleftheria (Liberty) Monument, Nicosia (28 Sep, 2020) by Nicosia Municipality; Tree Plantation at Blue Beret Camp, UNFICYP Hqrs. (29 Sep, 2020) in coordination with UNFICYP in the buffer zone.
Furthermore, other events included, Webinar & Digital Photo Exhibition on Life of Mahatma Gandhi at University of Nicosia (29 Sep, 2020) and at University of Cyprus (30 Sep, 2020) addressed by the Rector of University and the High Commissioner of India, Smt. Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat followed by Gandhi Katha by Dr. Shobhana Radhakrishna; Cleanliness Drive & Shram Daan Diwas at Ledra Street, Nicosia (30 Sept, 2020) in coordination with Nicosia Municipality and Indian diaspora; and Gandhi Jayanti Celebration at Bust of Mahatma Gandhi (02 Oct, 2020) at the garden of the Parliament of Cyprus. H.E. Demetris Syllouris (Acting President of Cyprus), President of the House of Representatives graced the occasion by offering floral tribute. The occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and International Day of Non-Violence was attended by many foreign diplomats and people from Indian Diaspora.
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
(15 October 2020)