In more than a decade in a first ever visit by an external affairs minister to Cyprus, a wide range of issues from deepening economic cooperation to connectivity are high on the agenda when Dr Jaishankar meets his counterpart. The two sides are expected to sign a MoU related to defence and military cooperation, and also an agreement to include the European nation in the International Solar Alliance (ISA) which is headquartered in India.
During his three day visit starting December 29, 2023, he will hold talks with counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides and both sides are expected to focus on deeper cooperation in various sectors, India-EU relations, there will also be inking of Mobility Pact which will allow easier movement of people between the two countries. India has recently inked a similar agreement with Germany.
As reported earlier, this will be the third meeting between the two ministers as the two had earlier met in June on the sidelines of CHOGM 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda and later in September in New York on the sidelines of UNGA’s 77th session.
Jaishankar will also discuss connectivity with his counterpart as readout from Cyprus stated that “prospect of India’s participation in a regional mechanism with countries of the region” will be on the agenda of talks. There are plans for connecting the Mediterranean to India through the Gulf.
Also both ministers are scheduled to address the Cyprus-India business forum which is to take place in Limassol. Later, besides calling on the President of the House of Representatives, Annita Demetriou, Jaishankar will interact with the Indian Diaspora.
The European nation has been supporting India on many crucial issues including the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement, India’s bid for UNSC, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the IAEA. It was among the countries which backed India post Pokhran II test back in 1998 and also backed India’s decision to remove the special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
This year the two countries are celebrating their sixty years of diplomatic ties and according to an official statement from that country ahead of the visit when the two ministers meet the issue of “Turkey’s provocative actions against Cyprus” will also be on the table.
Turkiye and Cyprus relationship historically remains strained. Why? Because according to the information in the public domain besides other historical issues Ankara has backed Northern Cyprus as a separate state.
In 2021 India extended its support to Cyprus after Turkiye violated UNSC resolutions when it opened the ghost town of Varosha which was once a popular resort.