Media Center Media Center

Press Statament by External Affairs Minister during Official Visit to Mauritius

February 22, 2021

Your Excellency Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth,
Hon’ble Ministers of the Government,
Senior Officials and dignitaries,
Friends of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.


Prime Minister, I am truly delighted to visit Mauritius once again.

I fondly recall my last visit, which was 4 years ago, as Foreign Secretary. I am happy that many of the ideas that were then on the drawing board have now become reality. Let me start, Prime Minister, by complimenting your leadership and the performance of your government.

Every time I visit your beautiful country, I am touched by the warmth and affection for India here, and recognize the deep emotional and cultural ties between our people, the vibrancy of the Mauritius society and its traditions and our enduring bonds of democracy and pluralism will always bind us together.

I would also like to convey my heartfelt appreciation to you, Prime Minister, and to the government of Mauritius and my counterpart for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation as well as the painstaking and elaborate Covid-compliant arrangements made for our visit.

Mauritius is one of the few "Covid safe” countries in the world and I congratulate you Prime Minister and your team for so commendably managing the COVID 19 pandemic through timely and decisive measures. Your Government is now focused on economic recovery and revival of livelihoods, an effort in which India, I assure you, will be a ready partner.

In 2015, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the National Assembly of Mauritius, he had assured all of you that India will always be with Mauritius – in support of your efforts and in joy for your successes.

I am glad that during the course of the past one year through trying times brought about by the Covid pandemic, India stood together with the people of Mauritius.

Through the 23 tonnes of essential medicines, half a million tablets of hydroxychloroquine, a special consignment of Ayurvedic medicines and a 14-member Medical Assistance Team under our ‘Mission SAGAR’, India’s helping hand was always over the horizon - responsive, resolute and reliable.

I am also happy that India was able to provide immediate assistance to deal with the unfortunate MV Wakashio oil spill accident by deploying an Indian Navy ship, an Indian Air Force special aircraft and a 10-member Technical Response Team of the Indian Coast Guard along with 30 tonnes of specialised technical equipment for containing the oil spill and undertaking salvage operations.

As one of our key priority partners, 100,000 doses of Made in India Covid-19 vaccines also reached Mauritius immediately after we rolled out our own vaccination program in India. This was a clear and telling demonstration of the extraordinary relationship between our countries and the place that Mauritius holds in our hearts.

An additional 100,000 doses of vaccines also reached Mauritius today, and you saw me doing the handing over to the Prime Minister, and we were truly glad to facilitate this commercial procurement of which further consignments would be arriving in the coming weeks.

Friends,

Symbolizing the unceasing nature of our cooperation our two Prime Ministers inaugurated the new Supreme Court building virtually on 30th July last year, when the pandemic was at its peak. Despite challenges, it is impressive that all five development projects announced by India in 2017 under the Special Economic Package, have been completed. These include phase I of the Metro Express project, the new Supreme Court building, the new ENT hospital, the supply of electronic tablets for Mauritian school children and 956 Social Housing Units, which will be made operational soon.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the government of Mauritius for their cooperation and excellent management due to which these high quality projects were executed in a timely manner.

Prime Minister, we globally do development partnerships with more than a hundred countries across the world. It is not always easy and there are numerous challenges at both ends. But I would like to take this opportunity to stress how positive our experiences in Mauritius has been in recent years. I compliment the governance quality under your leadership Prime Minister that has enabled complicated and impactful projects to unfold so smoothly. We hold it up as an example to our other partners across the world. This is truly a case where the people of a nation have been well served by the commitment of their government to harness international partnerships for larger good.

I am particularly glad to see that the ENT hospital plays a key role in Mauritius’ fight against Covid-19 and that the Metro has emerged as a popular, environment-friendly, rapid transport system that, I believe, has already crossed ridership of 3.1 million in a short span of time.

As far as the E-tablet project’s contribution in digitally empowering school children is concerned, the fact that the government of Mauritius intends to further expand the project is itself a testimony to its success.

I have no doubt that the 956 social housing units will also be well received by the Mauritian people. I am greatly looking forward to seeing some of these projects today and tomorrow during the course of my visit.

Excellencies, Friends,

Today is indeed a special day in our special relationship.

India is privileged to have entered into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) with Mauritius. This Agreement is India’s first-such Agreement with an African country as noted by the Prime Minister. It will provide a timely boost for the revival of our post-covid economies and also enable Indian investors to use Mauritius as a launch-pad for business expansion into continental Africa helping the prospect of Mauritius emerging as a ‘hub of Africa’.

The CECPA provides preferential access to Mauritius for bulk of the trade and also for many aspirational items for the future into the Indian market of over a billion people. These include frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment, and apparel. The current global imports of India on these products is well over US$ 15 billion. This is therefore a significant opportunity for Mauritius to benefit from access to the Indian market. Just to illustrate some of the benefits, Mauritius will get preferential access for export of 40,000 tonnes of sugar into India at an early time frame. Similarly, there will also be access for the export of 7.5 million pieces of apparel.

As regards trade in services, India has offered 95 sub-sectors from 11 broad services sectors. Services contribute, I believe, 76% of the GDP of Mauritius, and CECPA will surely boost the dynamism of the services sector in Mauritius. The CECPA could also facilitate Indian investment in the Services sector in Mauritius, especially in the ICT sector as Indian companies could benefit by leveraging the bilingual prowess of Mauritius for investments in Francophone Africa.

I am also happy today to see that the agreement which will be providing for a Dornier aircraft and an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv on lease to Mauritius on gratis basis for 2 years, helping shore up its capabilities to patrol and monitor its extensive maritime domain more effectively.

A special US$ 100 mn Defence Line of Credit has also been signed today which will enable the procurement of defence assets from India as per the needs of your Government.

These initiatives underline once again that the security of Mauritius is the security of India; in the prosperity of Mauritius is our prosperity.

Friends,

Among the unique facets of our relationship are our time tested cultural bonds. To strengthen them even more, I am happy to announce today that the Ayurveda Chair at the University of Mauritius and ICCR Chair of Sanskrit & Indian Philosophy at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute have both been identified and will be joining in near future.

Friends,

I had today the honor of calling on the Prime Minister. Spending time in a lengthy review of our comprehensive and important bilateral relationship. Our discussions, I believe, were very productive and forward looking, and we really reviewed all aspects of the relationship as well as status of implementation of various projects.

Prime Minister and I also discussed the issue of Chagos Archipelago today. I assured Prime Minister, of India’s steadfast principled support on this issue as has been demonstrated in the past.

I also had the honour of meeting the Hon’ble Minister of Foreign Affairs, Land Transport and Light Rail H.E. Mr Alan Ganoo.

Later today, I will have the honour of calling on the Hon’ble President of Mauritius H.E. Prithvirajsing Roopun as well as former Prime Minister Rt Honorable Sir Anerood Jugnauth.

I am also looking forward to the privilege of inaugurating the new Chancery-cum-Residential premises of the Indian High Commission in Mauritius at Ebene tomorrow, in the august presence, I hope, of the Hon’ble Prime Minister and the Hon’ble Foreign Minister.

I am equally eager to meet the vibrant Indian community and members of the various socio-cultural organisations that impress us with their exemplary dedication and contribution to forging closer ties between our two countries.

Before closing, let me also share with you that I conveyed to Prime Minister an official invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit India at a mutually convenient time. I also extended a warm invitation to my friend and counterpart Foreign Minister Alan Ganoo to visit India at the earliest opportunity.

Once again, I Thank you for your attention.

Comments
Comments

Post A Comment

  • Name *
    E-mail *
  • Write Your Comment *
  • Verification Code * Verification Code