Cyprus seeks stronger ties with India on defense, immigration

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus sought to strengthen ties with India on Thursday, signing agreements aimed at boosting military cooperation, expanding the use of solar technology and stemming illegal immigration.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said after a meeting with visiting Indian counterpart Jaishankar that the preliminary agreement would serve as a springboard for negotiations on ways to strengthen cooperation in military and defense matters.

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

“I very much welcome Cyprus to sign the International Solar Alliance framework agreement, and I believe our cooperation in the field of renewable energy will benefit from it,” Jaishankar said.

The two ministers also signed an agreement to launch formal discussions to facilitate the speedy repatriation of Indians whose asylum claims were rejected and allow business professionals and academics to travel and work more easily between the two countries.

A formal agreement is expected to be signed next February, Cyprus’ Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Asylum applications in the Mediterranean island nation rose to 18,345 between January and October this year. Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said earlier this month that the number of people with pending asylum claims and already granted more limited protection status was equivalent to more than 6 percent of Cyprus’ population.

Indians accounted for 7% of all new asylum applicants last year and 16% in 2020, according to the Cyprus Asylum Service.

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