Cyprus-India bolster defence ties

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Cyprus has strengthened its ties with India, signing agreements to tighten military cooperation, expanding the use of solar energy technology and stemming illegal migration.

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said after Thursday’s meeting with India’s visiting foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, that an initial agreement would act as a springboard for talks on strengthening cooperation on military and defence matters.

Kasoulides said the India-Cyprus partnership “is of immense importance and rooted in our shared values of democracy, diversity, pluralism, and respect for the law.

“The strategic aspects of the relationship have taken on new meaning in recent years, as reflected in our bilateral engagements.”

Another agreement involves Cyprus joining the International Solar Alliance, an organisation of 90 countries that aims to develop and ease access to solar energy technology as part of the global transition to renewable energy sources.

“I welcome the signing of the Framework Agreement on International Solar Alliance by Cyprus very much, and I believe that our cooperation in the field of renewable energy will gain as a result,” said Jaishankar.

The two ministers also signed an agreement initiating formal discussions on facilitating the swift repatriation of Indians who have had their asylum applications rejected and allowing business professionals and academics to more easily travel and work in both countries more.

The Interior Ministry stated that a formal agreement is expected to be signed in February next year.

Applications for asylum in the Mediterranean island nation rose to 18,345 between January and October of this year.

Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said earlier this month that the number of people with pending asylum claims and those who have already been granted a more limited protection status is equal to more than 6% of Cyprus’ population.

According to Cyprus Asylum Service figures, Indians made up 7% of all new asylum applicants last year and 16% in 2020. (source agencies)