New Delhi, April 29 (IANS): The Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus has backed the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in the UN, a joint statement issued on Saturday following Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades's visit to India said.
"The two sides exchanged views on developments in their respective regions and on international issues of common concern, most notably the fight against international terrorism and ways to reinforce measures to stem the financing of terrorism and disrupt the revenue stream towards terrorist groups," the statement said.
"The two sides welcomed the recent adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2347 (2017), aiming to combat the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage, religious sites and artefacts, and the smuggling of cultural property by terrorist groups during armed conflict," it said.
"Both countries share the view that the successful conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism remains a priority and will be a decisive step to further strengthen the global normative framework that will support vigorous international action against terrorism."
India proposed the CCIT in the UN in 1996 but it remains to be adopted because of differences between countries over the definition of the word "terrorism".
India has been consistently demanding the adoption of the convention, especially after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also pushed the issue during his speech at the UN General Assembly session in September 2014.
According to the statement issued following the delegation-level talks here on Friday headed by Modi and Anastasiades, both leaders discussed the need for the reform of the UN Security Council, including ways to make it more effective, efficient and representative of the contemporary geopolitical challenges.
India is part of the G4, that also includes Japan, Germany and Brazil, that is seeking permanent membership of the UNSC in tune with the current world.
"The two leaders expressed support to forward movement in the intergovernmental negotiations on United Nations Security Council reform, and reiterated their commitment to make continuous efforts to move towards text-based negotiations," the statement said.
"President Anastasiades reaffirmed Cyprus's support for the enhancement of the representative character of the United Nations Security Council expansion with India as a permanent member in an expanded United Nations Security Council."
Cyprus has also expressed support for India's membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
"In this context, Prime Minister Modi appreciated the support of Cyprus to India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group," the statement said. "India's membership will enable it to contribute further to global non-proliferation objectives."
At the NSG plenary in Seoul in June last year, China had blocked India's membership on the ground that for a country to be a member of the 48-nation bloc, it should be a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
According to the statement, Modi and Anastasiades took note of the current levels of bilateral trade between the two nations and agreed that it has immense potential for growth.
"The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the signing of revised India-Cyprus Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement in November 2016," it said.
"Prime Minister Modi suggested that the revision of the agreement could be utilised to increase investments between the two countries, especially in Indian flagship programmes like Make in India and various Cyprus investment projects."
Cyprus has also sought India's cooperation in developing the hi-tech sector as its third pillar of economy.
"In light of India's well-established capabilities in the fields of information technology, ITeS, biotechnology, and R&D, both sides identified these as potential areas for future cooperation," the statement said.
"The two sides also noted other potential areas for bilateral economic cooperation arising from Cyprus's expertise in financial services and cooperation in knowledge-based industry relating to accountancy, legal and investment banking and merchant shipping research."
Cyprus, the eighth largest foreign investor in India, has cumulative foreign direct investment of about $9 billion in areas of financial leasing, stock exchange, auto manufacture, manufacturing industries, real estate, cargo handling, construction, shipping and logistics.
The two sides also considered the energy sector as a high priority area and "agreed on the scope for sharing India's expertise with Cyprus in this regard", the statement said.
"The two sides discussed various possibilities of forging long-term joint collaboration in promoting innovative renewable energy applications and environment friendly use of energy," it said.
Stating that Modi and Anastasiades discussed India-European Union (EU) relations, the statement said that the Cypriot President reiterated support for the strengthening of the India-EU Strategic Partnership based on shared values and principles and in line with the priorities set out in the India-EU Agenda for Action 2020.
Anastasiades was on a state visit to India from April 25 to 29.