India, Cyprus sign four agreements, call for enhanced cooperation (Roundup)

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New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) India and Cyprus on Friday signed four agreements, including on air services and merchant shipping and expressed their willingness to cooperate in areas like climate change, tackling international terrorism and seeking reform of the United Nations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said India “deeply” appreciates the Mediterranean island country’s support for its permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

“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,” he said while jointly addressing the media with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades following delegation-level talks here.

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

Noting India itself has been battling cross-border terrorism for decades, 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.

Lauding the Indian stand on the integrity of his country, whose northern part is occupied by Turkish troops,, Anastasiades said that both sides have agreed to cooperate in areas like climate change, environment and international terrorism.

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

He also 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.

On the business opportunities for Cypriot entrepreneurs, Modi said: “Last year, to boost our capital and investment linkages, we have revised the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.

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

The two sides also discussed the excellent tourism opportunities in both countries.

The two leaders witness exchange of four agreements after delegation talks and working lunch.

The two sides signed an executive programme on culture, education and scientific cooperation for the period 2017-2020, a work plan under a programme of cooperation in agriculture for the period 2017-2018 and on cooperation in the area of merchant shipping.

A fourth agreement was signed to boost air services between the two countries.

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 him.

Anastasiades conferred Cyprus’s highest civilian honour, the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, on President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday evening when the latter hosted a banquet in his honour.

Anastasiades, who arrived in Mumbai on Tuesday and will depart from here on Saturday, was on his first visit to India since becoming the President in 2013.

–IANS

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