Cyprus seeks stronger ties with India on defense, migration

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus sought to strengthen its ties with India Thursday, signing agreements aimed to tighten military cooperation, expand the use of solar energy technology and stem illegal migration.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said after a meeting with India's visiting foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, that an initial agreement would act as a springboard for talks on ways to strengthen cooperation on military and defense matters.

Another agreement involves Cyprus joining the International Solar Alliance, an organization made up 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 very much the signing of the Framework Agreement on International Solar Alliance by Cyprus, 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.

Cyprus' Interior Ministry said in a statement 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.