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President Pranab Mukherjee to be conferred Cyprus's highest civilian award

By Ians

New Delhi, April 27: President Pranab Mukherjee will be conferred Cyprus's highest order of merit during the course of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades's ongoing visit to India, a senior official said on Thursday.

President Mukherjee to be conferred Cyprus's highest civilian award

"President Anastasiades will confer the award, the Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, on honourable Rashtrapatiji during a meeting between the two dignitaries," Rita Ghanashyan, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said at a media briefing here.

The award is named after Cyprus's first President, Archbishop Makarios III, and is conferred on foreign heads of state and government.

Mukherjee will be conferred the award when he hosts Anastasiades for a banquet on Friday. Also on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with Anastasiades following which some agreements are expected to be signed, Ghanashyam said.

She said that Cyprus supported India in crucial multilateral issues, including UN Security Council reforms and New Delhi's bid for membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

"Cyprus and India enjoy robust economic ties. Cyprus is a major investor in India with cumulative foreign direct investment of about $9 billion," Ghanashyam said.

"Cyprus is the eighth largest foreign investor in India and has invested in areas such as financial leasing, stock exchange, auto manufacture, manufacturing industries, real estate, cargo handling, construction, shipping and logistics," she said, adding that there was also scope for cooperation in sectors like pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, tourism and film production.

Anastasiades, who arrived in India on April 25, will depart from New Delhi on Saturday. This is his first visit to India. Then Indian President Pratibha Patil visited Cyprus in October 2009. Modi and Anastasiades also held talks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in September 2015.


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