Nicosia (Cyprus), Oct.31 (ANI): On the last day of her six-day state visit to London and Cyprus, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil met Cyprus President Demitris Christofias at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, and was told that Cyprus supports India's bid for permanent membership in the UNSC.
India has the world's second largest population and is the world's largest liberal democracy. It is also the world's twelfth largest economy and fourth largest in terms of purchasing power parity. Currently, India maintains the world's third largest armed force. India is the third largest contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions after Pakistan and Bangladesh.
India's bid for permanent UNSC membership has been unequivocally backed by permanent members France, Russia and the United Kingdom. China has recently supported the bid. Chile, Australia and the African Union have openly supported India's candidacy.
Patil was given a guard of honour and paid floral tribute to the late Archbishop Makarios.
Both presidents shared their views on bilateral, regional and internationalissues of importance to the two countries. atil expresessed India's support for Cyprus becoming a member of the EU and the Euro Zone, saying that New Delhi saw an opportunity to build its economic and technological relations for mutual benefit.
"India considers Cyprus a time-tested and valuable ally. We appreciate its support for India's permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Our shared commitment to freedom and democracy, multi-religious and multi-cultural society and common outlook on major regional and international issues, provide the basis for close cooperation in international forums," Patil said.
"We have expressed our solidarity to India and the Indian people on their struggle to combat terrorism. Cyprus joins it in the fight against international terrorism with in the context of international law and its respect of human rights and individuals' freedom," said President Christofias.
Earlier, Patil addressed the non-resident Indian community in Nicosia.
Praising the contributions of the community to building the warm ties between India and Cyprus, she said: " Indians abroad are well known for being responsible citizens of the countries of their domicile. I have no doubt that each one of you is contributing, in your own way, towards the progress of Cyprus. You are also very important bridges of friendship between our two countries and I hope that during your stay and work here, you will contribute to further cementing the long standing ties between India and Cyprus."
She also informed the community about the Indian Government's plans to expand the infrastructure sector, which she added would open "numerous opportunities for investment in roads, airports, shipping, energy among many others."
"India is also a large market in which the middle class has been growing. This makes it an attractive market, which has considerable purchasing capacity. We are expanding our education and healthcare sectors as essential pillars for building a human resource that is educated and healthy. We look at inclusive growth as important goal and hence, the Government has taken up social welfare programmes in whose implementation, civil society and NGOs are important partners. This is another field in which Indians abroad can play a role. I hope that you will support these efforts," she added.
A mention was also made about the Government of India's initiatives for ensuring the well being of people of Indian origin living abroad.
In this regard, she said efforts are on not only to address issues relating to the welfare of Indians abroad, but also to actively engage them as partners in India's development.
She said the annual function of the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas gave recognition to Indian nationals and persons of Indian origin living abroad who through their work contribute to promoting linkages between India and their country of domicile.
She said that she had participated in two Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas events and had come away with the feeling that these contacts etween overseas Indians and the land of their forefathers should be nurtured and encouraged. By Ravi Khandelwal (ANI)