Mauritius and India have signed a $100 million Defence Line of Credit agreement during the official visit of Indian External Affairs Minister Mr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. The two countries also signed the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA), the first of its kind with an African nation.
“Privileged to witness along with Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth the signing of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement, India’s first such agreement with an African country. This will help focus on post pandemic economic recovery. Enable business expansion and greater investments,” said Mr. Jaishankar in a message after the signing of the agreement.
Using the new framework under the CECPA, India and Mauritius would provide preferential access to a number of items like surgical equipment, medicine, and textile products that would cater to market requirements on both sides. “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,” said Mr. Jaishankar.
Regarding the $100 million Defence Line of Credit for Mauritius, he stated this would “enable the procurement of defence assets from India” according to the requirements of the country which was emerging as an important maritime entity in the Indo-Pacific region. “These initiatives underline once again that the security of Mauritius is the security of India; in the prosperity of Mauritius is our prosperity,” he said, adding that Mauritius would get a Dornier aircraft and an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv on lease which would build its maritime security capabilities. Mauritius occupies a special place in the Indian Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region).
The two sides also discussed the Chagos Archipelago dispute. In 2019, India was one of the 116 countries that voted at the U.N. General Assembly in support of the Mauritian position on the issue, demanding that the U.K. end its “colonial administration” from the group of islands.
“I assured the Prime Minister of India’s steadfast principled support on this issue as has been demonstrated in the past,” said Mr. Jaishankar.
He reiterated India’s medical support as displayed by the recent delivery of 100,000 Covishield vaccines to Mauritius. Delivery of the vaccine was a “clear and telling demonstration” of the relationship between the two countries.
Mr. Jaishankar also reviewed the progress of the India-assisted development projects in Mauritius and invited Mr. Jugnauth to visit India.
The Dagotiere Housing project
During this state visit, Mr Jaishankar also visited the Dagotière Social Housing Project, accompanied by DPM & Housing Minister Louis Steven Obeegadoo. He was delighted that the 956 Housing Units, built with Indian support, will be delivered soon. He also inaugurated, jointly with Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, the new building of the High Commission of India at Ebene. In between his numerous commitments, he had the opportunity to enjoy a ride in the India-financed Metro, accompanied by Foreign Affairs and Transport Minister Hon Alan Ganoo and High Commissioner of India H.E Nandini Singla.
Mr Jaishankar has had a very busy schedule during his visit. He met the leader of the MMM, former Prime Minister Paul Berenger and exchanged views with him on the growing India-Mauritius ties. He also conveyed India’s continued commitment to the progress and development of Mauritius. In the same vein, he met Dr Arvin Boolell, Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister and labour Party leader Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, as well as PMSD party leader Xavier-Luc Duval.
He also called on former PM Sir Anerood Jugnauth and Lady Sarojini. He congratulated him on being awarded the Padma Vibhushan last year.
He also met Finance Minister Renganaden Padayachy during an interactive session on CECPA organised by the Economic Development Board.
Mr Jaishankar has also visited the new Supreme Court building constructed under the Special Economic Package announced in 2017. He was impressed by the excellent management & execution of the project and thanked Chief Justice Hon. Asraf Ally Caunhye for receiving him. he earlier paid a visit to the new ENT hospital at Vacoas, a project financed by India, where he was welcomed by Health Minister Dr Kailesh Jagatpal.
Subrahmanyam Jaishankar is an Indian diplomat and politician and Minister of External Affairs of the Government of India since 31 May 2019. He is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and is a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha since 5 July 2019, representing Gujarat. He has previously served as the Foreign Secretary from January 2015 to January 2018.
He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1977 and during his diplomatic career spanning over 38 years, he served in different capacities in India and abroad including as a High Commissioner to Singapore (2007–09) and as Ambassador to the Czech Republic (2001–04), China (2009–2013) and USA (2014–2015). Jaishankar played a key role in negotiating the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.
On retirement, Jaishankar joined Tata Sons as the President, Global Corporate Affairs. In 2019, he was conferred with Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour. On 30 May 2019, he was sworn in as a cabinet minister in the second Modi ministry.