MOU(S) SIGNED BETWEEN INDIA & MAURITIUS
President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind led delegation-level talks with Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and members of his Cabinet. The President witnessed the exchange of various agreements/MoUs.
KEY-HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AGREEMENT
- India has announced a new Line of Credit of USD 100 million for defense procurement by the Government of Mauritius.
- India offered a Multi-Purpose Offshore Patrol Vessel to Mauritius to augment its security capacity.The project will be financed through the new defense LOC, and also with an additional grant component of USD 5 million.
- The other Agreement/MoUs exchanged were:
- Nalanda University in Bihar and Mauritius.
- MoUs on the establishment of an Ayurveda Chair at the University of Mauritius.
- MoU between the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) in India and the Public Service Commission of Mauritius.
- The projects are being executed under the Special Economic Package of $353 million for Mauritius extended by India.
IMPORTANCE OF THE VISIT
- President of India is on a six-day visit to the island nations of Mauritius and Madagascar (from March 14-15) in the Indian Ocean. President Kovind was the chief guest at the celebrations commemorating the 50th year of the independence of Mauritius (March 12).
- The visit assumes significance as both the African countries lie in the Indian Ocean and both are witnessing growing Chinese naval presence.
- The President also visited Ganga Talao and the Apravasi Ghat World Heritage Site to pay his tributes. Both these sites are held in great reverence by the Indian community in Mauritius.
- Apravasi Ghat represents the location where members of the early Indian community arrived in Mauritius as indentured laborers in the 19th century.
- Diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius were established in 1943 and such visits reflect India's foreign policy priorities.
- India is one of Mauritius’s largest trading partners and the largest exporter of goods and services to Mauritius since 2007 and moreover, India is the exclusive supplier of petroleum products to Mauritius.
- In Mauritius, there are nearly 10,000 Indian nationals and recently, India has announced during the 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January 2017, a special carve-out for OCI Cards, only for Mauritius, without any restriction.
- In 2014, Mauritius had introduced a visa-free regime for Indian tourists, where Indian tourists visiting Mauritius for a period up to 30 days do not require a visa and Mauritians are also entitled to gratis E-tourist visa for visiting India.
India and Mauritius share common security concerns in the Indian Ocean Region and India has always stood by Mauritius in the past by supplying patrol vessels. India-Mauritius bilateral cooperation is comprehensive and multi-faceted and regular high-level interaction between political leaders of both sides has given direction and impetus to this partnership. Mauritius serves as a gateway to the Indian Ocean Region and to Africa and it can serve as a hub for the Indian Ocean. Further, Mauritius has a natural convergence of interest with India and the mutual cooperation in maritime security will serve the purpose of both the nations.