India and Cyprus Relations: Latest Developments

IAS Prelims 2023

Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. M J Akbar paid official visit to Nicosia to review the state of India-Cyprus relations in all fields and rejuvenate the historic friendly relations between the two countries. During the visit he met, President of the Republic of Cyprus Mr. Nicos Anastasiades.

India and Cyprus enjoy robust economic ties, with cumulative foreign investment of more than US$ 9 billion received in India through Cyprus. A revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement signed November last year is likely to facilitate more foreign investment.

There is a mechanism of Joint Economic Committee Meeting for discussing the ways boosting trade and investment. In this context, the visiting Indian Minister delivered the keynote address on the new era for business between Cyprus and India to the business community at the Cyprus Chambers of Commerce & Industry in Nicosia.

Mr. Akbar also delivered a lecture titled “Balance of Power versus Pendulum of power” at the University of Nicosia. To promote appreciation of cultural heritage and understanding, the Minister inaugurated the “Konark Wheel”, a sculpture gifted by India to Cyprus and installed at the Open Air Museum of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nicosia.

India and Cyprus also cooperate closely at the UN, international organisations, Commonwealth and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

ASEM is an exclusively Asian–European forum to enhance relations and various forms of cooperation between its partners. It was officially established on 1 March 1996 in Bangkok,  by the then 15 members of the European Union (EU) and the European Commission, the then 7 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the individual countries of China, Japan, and South Korea. A series of enlargements saw additional EU members join as well as India.  The main components of the ASEM process rests on 3 pillars i.e., political, economic and social, cultural & educational pillar.

In general, the process is considered by the partners involved to be a way of deepening the relations between Asia and Europe at all levels, which is deemed necessary to achieve a more balanced political and economic world order.

There have been several gestures marking their special regard for and gratitude to India. In 1970, Cyprus issued a stamp in honour of Mahatma Gandhi. A bust of Mahatma Gandhi was installed near the Parliament House in July 1972 on the occasion of the visit of the then Indian President V.V. Giri. Almost all the Presidents of Cyprus have paid State visits to India.

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. So far seven rounds of JEC have been held. The last session was held in Nicosia in 2012.

Bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, industry, economy, investments, technology, tourism, energy, transportation, health, culture, etc. was reviewed and a Protocol signed. The next round of JEC is due to be held in India.