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President’s India visit kicks off with Bollywood meeting

Meetings with Indian businessmen of the Bollywood film industry in Mumbai, a visit to a monument for victims of terrorist attacks, as well as a visit to Gateway of India Monument, were on President Nicos Anastasiades’ schedule during the first day of his four-day official visit to India.

Heading a delegation of ministers, government officials, and businessmen, Anastasiades arrived in Mumbai on Tuesday morning.

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He was received by Indian businessmen of the Bollywood film industry and then laid a wreath at a monument for the victims of the Taj Mahal terrorist attacks in November 2008, in which Cypriot businessman Andreas Liveras was among the victims.

The president signed a book of condolences, pointing out that Cyprus stands firmly on the side of India and supports its struggle to combat terrorism.

Anastasiades then visited the Gateway of India Monument, a sightseeing attraction of the city of Mumbai.
Later on Tuesday he was scheduled to meet with Governor of Maharastra state, Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao.

Anastasiades arrived in Mumbai for a four-day state visit accompanied by Cypriot entrepreneurs and a government delegation.

The ministers of Finance, Energy, Transport, Agriculture, as well as the government spokesman comprise the delegation.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said the visit aims to meet three key goals.

“The first is to reaffirm the tight high-level political relations between the two countries, which, among other things, translate to India’s steadfast support for the Cyprus peace talks in various international fora,” he said.

“Second, to develop and further strengthen our trade and economic relations in sectors like air-transport, shipping, tourism. This is why the President’s visit starts in Mumbai, India’s financial centre. The third issue on the agenda is the strengthening of India’s ties with the European Union.”

On Wednesday, Anastasiades is scheduled to attend the business forum organised by the business associations of Cyprus and Mumbai, at which he will be the keynote speaker.

In the evening, the president will depart for New Delhi where he will visit the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination (Gandhi Smriti) and pay tribute to the great leader of India.

On Thursday afternoon, Anastasiades will be the keynote speaker at an event organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) think tank on “The EU-India Strategic Partnership in the 21st Century; A Cyprus Perspective.”

On Friday, the president will visit the Presidential Palace, where he will be officially welcomed by the President of India, and later on he will visit the Gandhi Mausoleum.

On the same day, he will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj.

Afterward he will hold a meeting with the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, at the Prime Minister’s office.

Anastasiades and the Cypriot delegation will later attend a working lunch hosted by the Prime Minister. After the lunch, bilateral agreements between the two countries will be signed.

In the evening, the president will attend an official dinner hosted in his honor by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee.

Anastaisades will leave New Delhi for Brussels early on Saturday morning, while the members of the Cypriot delegation will depart also early in the morning for Cyprus.


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