Jaishankar Cyprus Visit: Here are a few key facts. Pakistan has been destroying itself over Kashmir. Turkiye has been siding with Pakistan. Turkiye is critical of the removal of Article 370. Turkiye has its own Kashmir-like problems in Cyprus. What should India do so that Turkiye stops being Pakistan’s puppet on Kashmir? It should support Cyprus in its conflict with Turkiye.
EAM Jaishankar in Cyprus
EAM Jaishankar is visiting Cyprus and Austria. Out of the two, it is the Cyprus tour which has kept geopolitical experts on tenterhooks. Jaishankar did not disappoint them either. He met with his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides and signed a plethora of agreements between the two countries.
These include memorandum of agreement on defence cooperation and Letter of Intent (LoI) on immigration and mobility. One more agreement was signed, paving the way for Cyprus to join Gurugram headquartered International Solar Alliance, a 123-country group founded by PM Modi and then French President François Hollande.
Talking to reporters, EAM Jaishankar said, “We have had today very productive discussions on our bilateral relations, on our multilateral cooperation, on geopolitical and regional challenges. So, we exchanged views on our respective neighbourhoods, on the Indo-Pacific, on the Middle East or West Asia as we call it, on Europe, on India-EU relations.”
Existential necessity for Cyprus
Aforementioned deals are a clear indication of Cyprus’ attempt to get an upcoming superpower on its side. Siding with India on ISA will get a much-needed geopolitical clout as 123 nations are certain to develop positive sentiments for Cyprus. The other two deals are designed as India’s bilateral assistance to Cyprus. The Letter of Intent (LoI) regarding mobility will ensure that Cyprus will benefit from India’s increasingly skilled youth. Similarly, the MoU on defence and military will ensure that Cyprus becomes one of the key beneficiaries of India’s indigenous defence industry.
Increasing defence capability is a survival necessity for Cyprus. For the last 48 years, it has been facing a bully called Turkiye. Turkiye invaded Cyprus in 1974 and divided the island nation into the Greek-majority Republic of Cyprus (ROC) and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). ROC has international recognition and is a member of the European Union, while TRNC is only recognised by Turkiye. Turkiye has stationed heavy weapons and more than 35,000 troops in Northern Cyprus.
With the neo-Ottoman ambition of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the danger for Cyprus’ sovereignty is more than ever. Cypriots have been looking for a counter force. It understands that the west can’t do more than providing lip service in today’s time.
Also read: 2000 Crores Defence Deal with Armenia: A Nightmare for Turkey and a Jackpot for India
India’s kindness with Turkiye is a thing of the past
But, India can. There are two-folds reasons behind it. The first one is of course the welfare of the average Cyprus citizen. The second reason has been provided by the Turkiye itself. Throughout the last few decades, Turkiye has been trying to corner India on the Kashmir issue. India has been ignoring Turkish’s voices for a major part of these decades. Even the Modi Cabinet recused itself from engaging with a country geographically so far away from it. Turkiye took it as an act of cowardice.
In 2019, Turkiye decided to take the matters to the United Nations, presumably on the tip of Pakistan. The terrorist nation was finding it hard to infiltrate in Kashmir on the account of increased border patrol. Article 370 was removed and Kashmir was formally and constitutionally integrated into India. When Pak failed to stop the abrogation and its voice regarding the issue went through deaf ears, it deployed its proxy Turkiye to speak on the issue.
Also read: Historically, India has been too nice to Turkey. Well, that’s history now
Tit for tat
Erdogan raised the issue in 2019 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). India did not take it kindly. Later, PM Modi cancelled his scheduled visit to Pak supportive nation. India also went ahead with condemning Turkish offences in North-eastern Syria. But Erdogan did the same stunt in the 75th UNGA as well.
Even in 2022 UNGA, Erdogan hasn’t learned his lesson. This time around, India went for the counter punch and within a few hours of Erdogan’s miscalculated misadventure, EAM Jaishankar raised the Cyprus issue.
Met FM @MevlutCavusoglu of Türkiye on sidelines of #UNGA.
Wide ranging conversation that covered the Ukraine conflict, food security, G20 processes, global order, NAM and Cyprus. pic.twitter.com/AsEYO22tKn
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) September 21, 2022
It was only a matter of time before bilateral cooperation between India and Cyprus would get to a new level, especially strategic. Turkiye has got strong armed in the most belittling way possible.
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