Cyprus Editorial: Rubbing off a little bit of Modi

11 June, 2014 | Posted By: Financial Mirror

The election of pro-business Narendra Modi in India, who is determined to re-start the sub-continent’s growth machine and rekindle its dynamism, must be seen as a good omen for Cyprus. With the first messages already coming out of New Delhi suggesting that Modi wants to revive the old “Made In India” success story in all sectors of the economy, now is the time for President Anastasiades to hasten a visit not within the spirit of his recent exploratory missions to Gulf states, but one of higher importance, as India-Cyprus relations have been warm and mutually beneficial for nearly six decades.
Investments from the Gulf Arab states and the wider Middle East are and will always be welcome, which is why Anastasiades’ attendance at the swearing-in of Egypt’s new President Al-Sisi on Sunday must be seen as one of greater importance than just a neighbour with which we share potential natural gas resources and cooperation.
But equally important are the ties that Cyprus and India have maintained in the areas of third-party trade and trans-shipment, energy infrastructure, shipping, finance, education, technology and tourism. However, these have been left on the back-burner of late because of a nagging obstacle in our slow-moving bureaucracy to conclude the renewal of the double-taxation avoidance agreement that is the cornerstone of our robust bilateral commercial ties.
If there is any delay on our part to conclude the necessary documentation to renew the agreement that was first introduced in 1994, then perhaps the Cypriot president ought to get his whip cracking and see where the delay has been clogged. If the problem is on India’s side, a quick visit will help resolve this, as we are sure that Modi would be more than willing to welcome Anastasiades to New Delhi.
Whatever the outcome, there is a new momentum and the arrival of a fresh Indian diplomatic team in Nicosia will only help keep that momentum at a good pace, as there seems to be a genuine willingness to move matters forward.
The fact that Cyprus finds itself in an on-and-off status as regards India’s blacklist of tax jurisdictions does not bode well for our island as an attractive centre for international Indian business. It could also hamper Cyprus’ top ten ranking as FDI contributor with just over US$550 mln pumped into India and the total exceeding US$7 bln in the past fifteen years.
From our past relations with the government of India and Indian companies, they have remained loyal and committed to our trade and political ties. It is now up to us to take that relationship a step further.