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05-12-2019 13:06

The President of the Republic received the credentials of the High Commissioner of India

The President of the Republic, Mr Nicos Anastasiades, received the credentials of the High Commissioner of India to Cyprus, Ms Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat, during a formal ceremony held at the Presidential Palace on Thursday, December 5, 2019.

Presenting her credentials, High Commissioner Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat, speaking in English, said:

“Your Excellency, Mr President,

I would like to convey deep hearted personal greetings and best wishes for your health and success from the leadership of India, His Excellency the President Shri Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.  It is an honour and a privilege for me to present to you the Letter of Credence from the President of India, accrediting me as High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Cyprus, along with the Letter of Recall of my predecessor, High Commissioner Dr. R. K. Raghavan.

Our two countries have traditionally developed and established very cordial and warm relations and cooperation, evident through our common membership and close cooperation in the UN, NAM, Commonwealth and other international fora over the years, due to our principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. In this context, I wish to refer to the excellent record of our countries in reciprocal support of candidatures in international organizations and especially express gratitude and sincere appreciation for Cyprus’ support to India candidate at World Customs Organisation, India’s candidature to council of ICAO and council of IMO and India’s candidature for a permanent membership in the expanded UNSC. Cyprus has also supported India after Pulwama Terrorist Attack by condemning the terrorist attack. Cyprus has always been actively condemning terrorism and supported India on this issue.

India’s five police officers and one army officer are currently serving in UNFICYP. In the current conditions, UNFICYP’s role is imperative in ensuring stability and calm and an environment conducive to the efforts to resume the political process. India plays an important role in the UN Peace Keeping all over the world.

Excellency, India has always supported the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus. I take this opportunity to reiterate that India will continue its unwavering support to Cyprus, and we laud your personal initiatives towards the resolution of the Cyprus problem. 

Excellency, I sincerely wish that the resumption of structured and results-oriented negotiations, aiming at a comprehensive solution of the Cyprus problem will start soon, aiming at a solution that will be in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, which will benefit all Cypriots and respect democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Excellency, I would like to apprise that under the able leadership of our Government, notable initiatives have been launched for Poverty alleviation, Ujjwala Yojana, for girl child, Swachh India for cleanliness, Skill India, Digital India, Start-Up India, for the youth and economic development of our country. India has displayed the courage and leadership to take effective decisions which have launched the interlinked process of sustainable development.

Excellency, for the Indian community, Cyprus has become a second home, due to the high standard of educational system and business-friendly environment in Cyprus. The Indian community has increased to 7700, and they are engaged in various sectors including shipping, banking, tourism, amongst others and are contributing positively to the economy of Cyprus. The Indian community also comprises at almost 3400 students who are studying in Cyprus. 

India and Cyprus have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly relations. The Prime Minister met you on side-lines of UNGA in New York on 26 September 2019. Your State visit to India and President of India’s state visit to Cyprus has taken our already excellent bilateral relations to a new height and resulted in conclusion of many important agreements between the two countries. The business and investment are also growing between the two countries. Cyprus is the 8th largest FDI investor in India, the FDI inflows from Cyprus to India amounted to US$ 9.927 bn. The bilateral trade between the two countries has also increased over the recent years. Our cultural co-operation has enhanced thanks to the untiring efforts of your Government. On the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gandhiji, the Government of Cyprus released a commemorative stamp on 10 September 2019.

Your Excellency, I am deeply honoured representing my Country here. I am assured that during my tenure, the relations between our countries will strengthen further and reach the next level and we will work together in an ever-closer union.

Thank you”.

Receiving the credentials, the President of the Republic said:

“Excellency,

It is with great pleasure that I receive today your Letters of Credence, appointing you as the new High Commissioner of the Republic of India to the Republic of Cyprus. I would like to extend my warmest congratulations for your appointment and my sincere wishes for every success during your tenure.

The bonds between our two countries stretch back to the birth of the Republic of Cyprus, after India and Cyprus completed their struggle against colonialism and gained their independence. Cypriots are inspired and feel close to the people of India. This mutual affinity is seen in the monuments and streets named after inspiring leaders like Ghandi, Nehru, as well as brave UNFICYP Force Commanders who have served during very challenging times in Cyprus’ modern history.

Historically, our shared vision of peace and democracy has helped us forge a natural friendship, not out of necessity, but out of free will and choice. I am very pleased to witness this friendship blossoming into a solid partnership, based on the common values of international peace, security, rule of law and respect to human rights. This common set of values is also reflected in our excellent cooperation in international fora, such as the United Nations and the Commonwealth. I recall with great satisfaction my fruitful meeting with Prime Minister Modi in September, in the margins of the UN General Assembly, and the constructive exchange of views we had on issues of mutual interest and concern.

Our relations expand into the bilateral sphere, allowing us to forge stronger ties and further enhance our cooperation. We look forward to continue working closely together towards deepening relations in fields such as finance, trade, maritime, education, climate change, technology and tourism. Furthermore, Cyprus, being a long-standing friend of India, stands ready to engage in further advancing the relations between the European Union and India. We firmly believe that your country’s relationship with the Union is of paramount strategic importance for world peace and economic progress. 

As regards the economy, following the severe economic crisis of 2013, Cyprus has achieved a return to positive growth rates since 2015. What has been achieved in a period of just a few years, is nothing short of a remarkable recovery, confirming the resilience and strong foundations of Cyprus’ economy and the excellent prospects of its key productive sectors. For 2019, the growth rate is estimated at 3.2%, while medium-term macroeconomic forecasts project a robust growth of around 3% in the years to come.

Public finances have been set - and they continue to be - on a sustainable management path. In particular, for 2019 the budget surplus is expected to be at 3.8% as a percentage of GDP. The labour market is continuing to record steady progress, with an estimation of 7% unemployment for 2019, compared to 8.4% the previous year. The percentage decline in unemployment is among the largest in the EU and it is projected that by 2020 we will return to full employment conditions.

We are pursuing significant reforms, amongst others, in the public administration, the welfare and health care system, and in tax administration. At the same time, we are enhancing our position as a competitive and stable business and investment destination, through the enhancement of our tax and legal frameworks, as well as providing incentives for new entrepreneurial activities. 

The positive course of the Cypriot economy, as well as effective actions in the banking sector, have strengthened the confidence of investors and of International Credit Rating Agencies, which is reflected by a number of successive upgrades, classifying Cyprus at the investment grade. We look forward to fully utilizing the amended bilateral Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation which provides a solid basis for expanding our relations in the field of investments.

Our commitment as a Government is to remain focused on maintaining and broadening the conditions under which surpluses and high growth rates can be generated, to continue promoting structural reforms and improving the country’s business environment.

The reunification of Cyprus and its people after 45 years of Turkish occupation is long overdue. In the face of this perpetuated injustice, the aim of reaching a lasting solution which would safeguard the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, without any third country dependencies, military troops and guarantees, cannot wane.

Cyprus highly values India’s principled stance and continued support towards our untiring efforts to reach a comprehensive and viable settlement of the Cyprus issue, on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions on Cyprus, international law and the EU acquis.

On my own behalf, I would like to reiterate my sincere willingness and determination to continue working tirelessly to achieve a settlement reuniting Cyprus. The tripartite meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General and the Turkish Cypriot leader in Berlin on November 25, 2019, was a positive step towards resuming negotiations.

What is of course required is to create those necessary conditions that will allow the dialogue to resume on the basis of good will and constructive stance from all stakeholders in order to safeguard the positive outcome of the negotiations.

Regrettably, Turkey’s continued illegal drilling operations within Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone, as well as actions and statements alluding to plans of the Turkish side for a potential opening of Varosha, do not only contradict the UN Charter and international law, but they also pose a threat to peace and stability in Cyprus and our immediate region and run contrary to the necessity of having a positive climate in place, conducive to resuming negotiations.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express my deep appreciation for India’s full support and solidarity, strongly condemning Turkey’s continued provocations and illegal actions. We will continue to rely on your invaluable support and firm commitment to promoting international peace, security and rule of law.

Your Excellency,     

In concluding, High Commissioner Bhagat, I warmly welcome you to Cyprus and I would like to assure you of the support of myself and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus during the execution of your high duties. Moreover, I would kindly ask you to convey a message of genuine friendship and good will to the President of the Republic of India, H.E. Mr Ram Nath Kovind and to the Prime Minister, H.E. Mr Narendra Modi, as well as a message of solidarity and support to the friendly people of India”. 

(EK/II)