Indian President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Cyprus is expected to further cement the relationship between India and Cyprus, the High Commissioner of India to Cyprus Dr. R.K Raghavan told the Cyprus News Agency.
The Indian President is visiting Cyprus between September 2-4 and will hold talks with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Monday, September 3. A number of bilateral agreements will be signed between delegations of the two countries. President Kovind is the first Indian President to visit Cyprus in the last nine years. The previous President who paid Cyprus a visit was Pratibha Patil, in 2009.
The High Commissioner said that the President`s visit to Cyprus follows President Nicos Anastasiades’ visit to India last year. “At least two former Presidents and two Prime Ministers of India have been to the island in the past. This frequency of such visits highlights the strength of the bond that unifies the two nations,” he said.
He pointed out that there is so much that the two countries can learn from each other and this is especially in the context of a nearly identical past, in the sense, that both won their independence from British rule within a decade of each other. Also, he pointed out, they are democracies of profound strength.
“India’s Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi is a well known name in Cyprus. There is actually a bust of him which adorns Parliament Square in Nicosia, on what is called the Nehru Street, after India’s first Prime Minister. There is also a street that has been named after India’s former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, a street in Engomi on which the Indian High Commission is located,” he added.
During his visit, President Kovind will be unveiling the bust of one of India’s greatest poets, Rabindranath Tagore, a Noble Laureate, whose Gitanjali, is an immortal piece of literature, that is read all over the world. This will be in the campus of University of Cyprus. India has also great respect for Cyprus’ first President Archbishop Makarios, in whose honour, a road in India’s capital New Delhi has been named, the High Commissioner said.
He underlined that most significantly, the two countries have been of extensive mutual support in international forums, pointing out that “India’s unqualified support in favour of Cyprus to solve the problem it faces in the north of the island, is well known.”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Numerous UN-backed negotiations, aiming at reuniting the island under a federal roof, have failed to yield results. The latest talks under UN aegis took place in the summer of 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana.
High Commissioner said that a few MoUs are expected to be signed during President Kovind’s visit and this is expected to bring the two nations further together.
“President Kovind’s visit comes against the background of efforts made in both countries to promote a strong trade and business relationship. It is quite likely that these efforts will bear fruit in the years to come,” he said.
The HC also said in his statement that there are more than 6,000 Indian nationals in Cyprus, either for education or work.
“I am told that Cyprus is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for Indian students to pursue higher education. In the same manner, more and more Cypriots have been visiting India’s historic sites. Some of them have told me of their desire to go there again and again. This shows a strong affinity people-to-people in the two countries,’ he said.
The High Commissioner also said that he expects all Indians living in Cyprus to project themselves as India’s ambassadors and convey the message of love and mutual respect. In addition, he said, the Indian High Commission has plans to bring several prominent artistes to Cyprus in an endeavor to expose Cypriots to facets of Indian tradition and music. In sum, he said, this is a great relationship that deserves to be nurtured with immense care.