Hinduism in Cyprus
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The Indian community in Cyprus, which numbered around two hundred a few years ago now stands at around 2,000.
Composition of the Community
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While the number of permanent residents is very small, the major chunk of the community consists of professional software programmers and their families. They are employed in some of the offshore companies operating in Cyprus. Few multi-national companies ("MNC") named Amdocs and TSYS with their offices in Cyprus.
There are around four to five hundred Indian students in different private colleges. Most of the students are doing hotel management, tourism, information technology and business administration courses.
There is also a fluctuating group of semi-skilled domestic servants, itinerant farm labourers and some management and technical professionals. The Indian community reflects the image of an India making important strides in the frontier areas of technological change in the new millennium.
Relations between India and Cyprus have been traditionally very close and friendly. Archbishop Makarios had the highest respect for Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and was deeply appreciative of the support rendered by India to the struggle of Cyprus against British colonial rule. India has strongly supported the cause of safeguarding the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Cyprus.
The Cypriot Government and the House of Representatives have repeatedly expressed warm appreciation of India’s role in this regard. There have been several gestures marking their special regard for and gratitude to India. A bust of Mahatma Gandhi was installed near the Parliament House in July 1972 on the occasion of the visit of President V.V. Giri.
The avenue on which the House of Representatives is located was named after Jawaharlal Nehru during the visit of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1983. The road on which the High Commission premises are located is also named after Indira Gandhi.
Over the years, Indo-Cypriot political relations have been maintained and strengthened through a series of high level visits. All the Presidents of the Republic of Cyprus, viz., Archbishop Makarios, Spyros Kyprianou, George Vassiliou and Glafcos Clerides, paid State visits to India. From India, President V.V. Giri, President R. Venkataraman and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Cyprus. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Cyprus from October 7-9, 2002. Cyprus publicly endorsed India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the expanded Security Council of the United Nations. India reiterated its deep commitment to the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Cyprus.