Enhancing Relations With India Forms A Core Pillar Of Our Foreign Policy: Cyprus FM Kasoulides

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said his country supports the momentum of negotiations on an EU-India free trade agreement and that relations with New Delhi are a “key pillar” of Nicosia’s foreign policy.

Speaking at a business event in Cyprus on Friday, Kasoulides said, “The relationship between the European Union and India is recognized as having great potential for further cooperation. In this regard, we support the momentum of negotiations of the EU-India Free Trade Agreement. Cyprus is a strong voice in the EU, and there is clearly a need to strengthen EU-India relations.

India and the European Union have concluded the first round of negotiations for an India-EU trade and investment agreement including Geographical Indicators (GI) in July 2022. A second round of negotiations was held in Brussels in September 2022.

India’s bilateral trade with EU to reach USD 116.36 billion in 2021-22. Despite global disruptions, bilateral trade is set to grow by 43.5 per cent annually in 2021-22, a Commerce and Industry Ministry press release reported.

Currently, the EU is India’s second largest trading partner after the US and the second largest destination for Indian exports.

A trade deal with the EU will help India further expand and diversify its exports of goods and services, including securing value chains. Trade negotiations on both sides aim to be broad-based, balanced and comprehensive, based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity.

Appreciating the Indian High Commission for setting up a wonderful initiative aimed at enhancing bilateral, economic and trade relations between the two countries, Cyprus FM said, “Today’s event is very timely, taking place in the presence of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Yesterday I had the pleasure of welcoming him to the Ministry of External Affairs where we had the opportunity to discuss many foreign policy issues related to our bilateral, regional and European agenda.

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Cyprus and India have traditionally shared excellent relations and have common historical experiences – parameters such as the struggle for independence against colonialism and mutual commitment to global values ​​such as peace, democracy, human rights, peaceful resolution of disputes and the rule of law have brought the people closer together. and solidified the foundation for a strong friendship between the two countries.

“Over the years, the two countries have built on these historic ties through our joint membership and active participation in the Commonwealth, the United Nations and other international bodies,” Casaulides said.

He said that India plays a vital role in political and economic fields. It plays an important and stabilizing role in the South Asian neighborhood, setting an example with its stand on peace, security, stability and prosperity.

“In the same vein, India stands firm for the reunification of Cyprus through a comprehensive solution, in line with the United Nations Security Council resolutions,” Kasoulides said.

The current issue between Cyprus and Turkey is the ongoing conflict between Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north. According to a recent report by American broadcaster Voice of America (VOA), tensions between Greece and Turkey over the divided island of Cyprus appear to be rising.

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The multifaceted Cyprus-India partnership has been steadily strengthening in recent years. The virtue of our 60-year-long friendship provides a unique opportunity for both countries to explore new areas of cooperation.

“It is precisely for these reasons that improving relations with India is one of the main pillars of our foreign policy. Economic ties are a common denominator of this effort and that is why the Indian Foreign Minister is trying to upgrade this relationship, working closely with other stakeholders in the private and public sectors in Cyprus,” said Kasoulides.

He said there are untapped opportunities for cooperation in trade and investment in many sectors such as renewable energy, financial services, science and technology, information, communication technology, research and innovation, pharmaceuticals, shipping, tourism and education.

The Cyprus minister also spoke about the challenges faced by the global economy.

“Our world and our economies are facing enormous challenges, a few years ago we had to deal with the pandemic and subsequent recession and the disruption of value chains, and more recently the war in Ukraine, the food and energy crisis, as well as inflation,” said Kasoulides.

Presenting Cyprus for Indian investment, he said the country’s main economic policy objective is “green and digital transition”.

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“Despite the difficulties, the economy of Cyprus shows signs of sustainable growth and remains committed to its policy of healthy public finances and constructive structural reforms aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the economy. One of the main pillars of our economic policy has been recognized as the country’s ‘green and digital transformation’, It is supported by funding from the EU,” said Kasoulides.

“It offers many opportunities for investment in all sectors and we are strongly committed to working with India with the aim of strengthening our important partnership, both political and economic, at the bilateral and multilateral level. I am sure that today’s event will bring us one step closer to this goal,” he added.

He said the Cyprus economy is stable and is constantly working to improve its business environment.

“For 2022, GDP growth is expected to be 5.7 percent and forecasts for 2023 are around 3 percent, reflecting global uncertainty. Inflation is on the rise from September 2021, mainly due to higher oil prices. The figures for 2022 are expected to be around 7.7 percent and for 2023 around 3 percent. It is therefore clear that the Cyprus economy is stable and is constantly working to improve its business environment,” said the Cyprus Minister.

Also read: Cyprus refuses to extradite Chinese businessman.

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