India and Cyprus should explore possibilities of cooperation in fields like IT and knowledge based industry and work on increasing bilateral trade which is much “below potential”, President Pratibha Patil said on Saturday.

During one-to-one meeting here with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, Ms. Patil told him that there are numerous possibilities of co-operation between the two countries in the areas of Information Technology and knowledge based industry, which are focus areas of development of Cyprus’s economy.

“IT and IT Enabled Services are areas of India’s core competence. Biotechnology, Research Development projects, Agro—food processing, financial services, pharmaceuticals, tourism, film industry, construction, automobiles are some of the other areas of potential cooperation,” Ms. Patil said.

Ms. Patil, who is here on a three-day official visit, is the first Indian head of state to visit Cyprus in last 20 years.

“In our discussions, we also agreed that our bilateral trade which stands at USD 68.7 million is much below potential and efforts to increase it should be explored,” she said.

Ms. Patil wished Mr. Christofias all success in achieving a resolution of the Cyprus problem in accordance with his aspirations and the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

“India considers Cyprus a time-tested and valuable ally. We appreciate its support for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council,” she said.

“We reviewed the functioning of the institutional arrangements for dialogue between our two countries as also the agreements signed in the past few years which have created the necessary framework to enhance our relations,” Ms. Patil told reporters.

The discussions between the two leaders covered the entire gamut of bilateral relations, as well as international and regional issues of importance to both our countries, she said.

President Patil reiterated India’s support for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of the Republic of Cyprus.

Ms. Patil later visited the House of Representative where she paid floral tributes at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi and met Marios Garoyan, the President of the House.

She also met Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus.

“Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Archbishop Makarios shared a vision of a just world and bonds of personal friendship with each other. This friendship continued between President Syprios Kyprianou and Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, whose 25th death anniversary is being observed today,” Ms. Patil said stressing the strong ties two countries share.