India, Cyprus discuss civilian nuke cooperation


Nicosia : India and Cyprus Friday discussed the issue of civil nuclear cooperation even as they signed three agreements, including one on combating terrorism and organised crime.

Support TwoCircles

The pacts were signed after Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee met Cyprus President Tassos Papadopoulos and Foreign Minister Yiorgos Lillikas in Nicosia.

Cyprus is a member of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) whose support is crucial in taking forward the India-US civilian nuclear deal.

The two sides also discussed issues related to terrorism, climate change and developments in the South Asian region, external affairs ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

The two countries also signed a pact on abolishing visa requirements for diplomatic and official passport holders and another on promoting cultural, educational and scientific cooperation.

Mukherjee Friday began his tour of Cyprus by paying homage at the bust of Mahatma Gandhi located next to the Cyprus parliament on Jawaharlal Nehru Avenue in Nicosia, the only such memorial to a foreign leader in the area. He then offered flowers at the statue of late president Archbishop Makarios III.

Speaking at a press conference here Saturday, Mukherjee said: "India has always supported Cyprus in its quest for unity and territorial integrity.

"Cyprus, in turn, has always been supportive of India's interests including in such important areas as our quest for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, our desire to expand our civil nuclear energy programme and our fight against terrorism," Mukherjee added.

The Indian minister now flies to Libya and will later proceed to Germany.