Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius, Honourable Pravind Kumar Jugnauth ji,
भारत के सभी 130 करोड़ लोगो की ओर से, Mauritius के सभी भाई-बहनों को नमस्कार, Bonjour, और थाइपूसम कावडी की शुभकामनाएं।
At the outset, I wish to recall the stellar contribution of the late Sir Anerood Jugnauth to strengthen India-Mauritius ties. He was a visionary leader, who was widely respected in India. Upon his passing, we had declared a day of national mourning in India, and our Parliament had also paid homage to him. It was our privilege to honour him with the Padma Vibhushan award in 2020. Unfortunately, the pandemic did not permit us to schedule the award ceremony during his lifetime. But we were honoured by the presence of Lady Sarojini Jugnauth in November last year to accept the award. This is the first bilateral event between our countries after his sad demise. And so, even as we celebrate yet another milestone in our shared development journey, I also wish to express my deepest condolences to his family, and to all the people of Mauritius.
India and Mauritius are united by history, ancestry, culture, language and the shared waters of the Indian Ocean. Today, our robust development partnership has emerged as a key pillar of our close ties. Mauritius is a prime example of India's approach to development partnership which is based on the needs and priorities of our partners and respects their sovereignty .
Pravind ji, I fondly remember inaugurating with you the Metro Express project, the New ENT Hospital and the New Supreme Court building. I am delighted to know about the Metro's popularity, crossing the 5.6 million passengers mark. We look forward to supporting the further extension of the Metro, under the 190 million dollar Line of Credit agreement exchanged today. It is also a matter of satisfaction and pride for us that the New ENT Hospital has been instrumental in combating COVID-19.
In fact, our cooperation during the COVID pandemic has been exemplary .Under our Vaccine Maitri programme, Mauritius was one of the first countries we were able to send COVID vaccines to. I am happy that today Mauritius is among the few countries in the world to have fully vaccinated three-fourths of its population. Mauritius is also integral to our approach to the Indian Ocean. It was in Mauritius, during my 2015 visit, that I had outlined India's maritime cooperation vision of SAGAR -Security and Growth for All in the Region.
I am glad that our bilateral cooperation, including in maritime security, has translated this vision into action. Despite the constraints of COVID, we were able to hand over a Dornier aircraft on lease and complete the Short Refit of the Mauritian Coast Guard ship Barracuda. The deployment of equipment and experts to contain the Wakashio oil spill was another example of our cooperation to protect our shared maritime heritage.
Today's event again demonstrates our shared commitment to improving the lives of our people. Pravindji, I am happy to join you on the completion of the Social Housing project. We are particularly glad to be associated with this important effort to provide affordable houses to the common people of Mauritius. We are also initiating today two other Projects that are critical to nation-building: a state-of-the-art Civil Service College that will help in skilling government officers, for Mauritius's continued progress; and the 8 Mega Watt Solar PV Farm project, which will help mitigate the climate challenges that Mauritius faces as an island country.
In India too, we are focusing on innovative approaches to civil-service capacity building under our Mission Karmyogi. We would be happy to share our experiences with the new Civil Services college. As we launch the 8 Mega Watt Solar PV Farm, I recall the One Sun One World One Grid initiative, which was launched on the sidelines of the COP-26 meeting in Glasgow last year. It is an idea that I had put forth at the First Assembly of the International Solar Alliance in October 2018.This initiative will not only reduce carbon footprints and energy costs, but also open a new avenue for cooperation between different countries and regions. I hope that India and Mauritius can together create a shining example of such cooperation in solar energy.
The Agreement on Small Development Projects that we are exchanging today will deliver high-impact projects at the community level across Mauritius. In the coming days, we will begin work on several important projects such as the Renal Transplant unit, the Forensic Science Laboratory, the National Library & Archives, the Mauritius Police Academy, and many others.I would like to reiterate today that India will always continue to stand by Mauritius in its development journey.
I wish all our Mauritian brothers and sisters a happy, healthy and prosperous 2022.
Vive l’amitié entre l’Inde et Maurice!
भारत और मॉरिशस मैत्री अमर रहे।
Thank you very much. Namaskar.