Your Excellency, the President of Cyprus,
Friends from the Media,
I am delighted to welcome you, Excellency, on your first State Visit to India. I know that India has enjoyed a special place in the heart of every Cypriot President. Almost all of them have visited India. So, it is indeed an honour for me to welcome such a great friend and strong supporter of India. Cyprus and India share rich legacies of ancient civilizations and, our civilizations have influenced each other through millennia. In modern times, our relationship goes back to the pre-independence era, when our founding fathers supported the freedom struggle of Cyprus. And, Cyprus too has always reciprocated with its warmth and friendship. India has always stood by Cyprus on all crucial issues. In 1974, India took a firm stand in support of the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus . India has contributed personnel to the UN Peace Keeping Force in Cyprus. Three force commanders from India served in this capacity, and it is heartening for me to know that all of them are fondly remembered in Cyprus.
I am aware of your initiative for resolving the Cyprus issue. You have led from the front in trying to bring a new era of peace, development and security. Not just for Cyprus, but for the whole region. We wish you every success in your efforts. Under your leadership, Cyprus has successfully overcome its recent financial and banking challenges. And, recorded one of the highest growth rates in the Euro zone in 2016. Excellency, we commend your vision and leadership for taking your country out of this crisis and on to the path of economic prosperity.
Today, the President and I have had detailed discussions. Our conversation covered the full range of bilateral relationship. We also exchanged perspectives on important global and regional issues of mutual concern. Cyprus and India enjoy close economic ties. Cyprus is the 8th largest investor in India. Last year, to boost our capital and investment linkages, we have revised the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement. The President and I agreed that India offers excellent investment opportunities for Cypriot entrepreneurs. The industry and business in our two economies can shape attractive partnerships through the flagship programmes launched by my Government. The beautiful landscapes of Cyprus and the wide horizons of ‘Incredible India’ can be a source of tourism promotion in both our countries.
India and Cyprus share the common objective of bringing about an early reform of the United Nations Security Council. Both of us believe that a reformed Security Council, reflective of the world as it is, and not as it was, is necessary to address the range of complex challenges facing the world today. Excellency, in this context, I deeply appreciate your support for India’s claim for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council. The President and I also discussed ways to strengthen our partnership in other inter-governmental organizations and regimes.
Given its location, Cyprus appreciates the threat that terrorism poses to the global peace and stability. India itself has been battling cross border terrorism for decades. We agreed that there is an urgent need for all countries to decisively act against those states who generate, support, shelter and sustain these factories of violence in our regions. The President and I discussed the need for creating a comprehensive global legal framework, particularly through early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
I share with you the strong commitment to take our bilateral engagement to a new level. I am confident that our discussion and decisions today will give a new direction and depth to our partnership. Let me welcome you once again to India, and wish you a fruitful and productive stay.
Thank you very much