India appreciates Cyprus support for UNSC membership: Modi

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New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India appreciates Cyprus’s support for its permanent membership in the UN Security Council as the two sides signed four agreements, including on air services and merchant shipping.

“India and Cyprus share the common objective of bringing about an early reform of the United Nations Security Council,” Modi said while jointly addressing the media with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades following delegation-level talks here.

“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,” he said.

“Excellency, in this context, I deeply appreciate your support for India’s claim for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.”

Stating that Friday’s discussions covered the full range of the bilateral relationship, Modi said that he and Anastasiades exchanged perspectives on important global and regional issues of mutual concern.

He also said that Cyprus and India enjoyed close economic ties with the Mediterranean island nation being the eighth largest investor in India.

“Last year, to boost our capital and investment linkages, we have revised the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement,” the Prime Minister said, adding that India offered excellent investment opportunities for Cypriot entrepreneurs.

Last year, a revised double taxation avoidance agreement (DTAA) was signed between the two countries. The provisions of the new DTAA came into force from April 1.

“The industry and business in our two economies can shape attractive partnerships through the flagship programmes launched by my government,” the Prime Minister said.

“The beautiful landscapes of Cyprus and the wide horizons of ‘Incredible India’ can be a source of tourism promotion in both our countries.”

Modi said that given its location, Cyprus appreciated the threat that terrorism posed to global peace and stability.

Stating that India itself has been battling cross border terrorism for decades, without naming Pakistan, he said: “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 (India-initiated) Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.”

Modi also expressed support for the territorial integrity of Cyprus and appreciated Anastasiades’s efforts in leading from the front in trying to bring a new era of peace, development and security.

“Under your leadership, Cyprus has successfully overcome its recent financial and banking challenges,” he stated.

On his part, Anastasiades said that he and Modi also discussed relations between India and the European Union (EU) and expressed support for an India-EU free trade agreement.

He invited Indian companies to invest in Cyprus saying India and Cyprus were like-minded countries.

The Cypriot President said both Cyprus and India have agreed to cooperate in areas like climate change, environment and international terrorism.

“I appreciate your unequivocal support for Cyprus’s integrity,” Anastasiades said.

Following Friday’s talks, the two sides signed four agreements in the areas of air services, merchant shipping, agriculture, and culture, education and scientific cooperation.

Earlier in the day, the Cypriot President was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Anastasiades also paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and described him as a “spiritual leader of Cyprus and inspiration for its freedom struggle”.

Following this, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the visiting dignitary.

Anastasiades will confer Cyprus’s highest civilian honour, the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, on President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday evening when the latter will host a banquet in honour of the visiting delegation.

Anastasiades, who arrived in Mumbai on Tuesday, will depart from New Delhi on Saturday.

This is his first visit to India since he became the President in 2013.

–IANS

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