Rub­bing off a lit­tle bit of Modi

E DII TO RII A L

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The elec­tion of pro-busi­ness Naren­dra Modi in In­dia, who is de­ter­mined to re-start the sub­con­ti­nent’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 back­burner 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.

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