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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 12.03.2013

Excellency Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, the Prime Minister of Mauritius

Friends from the Indian and Mauritian media

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a unique honour and privilege for me to pay a State Visit to Mauritius and be the Chief Guest at the 45th anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius.

On this momentous and happy occasion, I bring with me the warmest wishes and greetings from the Government and the people of India, to the Government and the people of Mauritius.

I thank Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam and the Government and the people of Mauritius for the exceptionally warm and gracious welcome accorded to me and my delegation.

India and Mauritius share deep-rooted ties of history, culture, kinship, traditions and common values. We are united by the democratic foundations and the secular traditions of our societies. There is also a wide convergence of interests on many regional and global issues of mutual interest. These aspects lend our bilateral relations a special and extraordinary character.

We have, in recent years, forged a dynamic, modern and mutually beneficial partnership. Mauritius is the second country I am visiting after assuming the post of President of India. This reflects the importance that India attaches to its relationship with Mauritius.

Close, high-level and regular political interaction has been a hallmark of our bilateral relations. Our present-day partnership has also benefitted from growing framework of more than 30 inter-governmental agreements in wide-ranging areas of mutual benefit, as well as from the vitality of our people-to-people contacts.

My visit to Mauritius reaffirms our shared commitment to take our relations to even greater heights.

I met President Rajkeswur Purryag yesterday. My discussions with His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam were cordial and covered the entire length and breadth of our multi-dimensional engagement. We discussed bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. I am confident that the meetings and discussions during my visit here will further strengthen our partnership.

While expressing satisfaction over the current state of our relations, Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam and I agreed that there was untapped potential, particularly in the areas of trade and economic cooperation. The bilateral Line of Credit between the two sides must be used as a vehicle to upgrade our economic and commercial exchanges, including the possible financing of projects that will improve the quality of life of Mauritian citizens. We also discussed potential areas for cooperation such as exploration of marine resources, renewable energy and environment friendly technologies.

The Prime Minister and I have agreed to further enhance exchanges in the fields of Health, Higher Education, Information Technology, Science & Technology, Tourism, Textiles, Agro-Processing, Culture and Legal Cooperation. I am very happy to note that MoUs in Health and Medicine, Tourism and Cooperation as well as in the field of Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities have been signed today. I am positive that these agreements will further enhance the quality of our partnership and be of benefit to the people of India and Mauritius.

I am pleased to note that the Joint Working Group (JWG) on the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) has met twice in the last one year. They have provided an opportunity for both sides to discuss all issues with the aim of finding a mutually acceptable and beneficial outcome. India looks forward to holding the next meeting of the JWG soon in New Delhi. We also look forward to the holding of the 11th India-Mauritius Joint Commission Meeting.

India will continue to extend assistance to Mauritius in the field of human resource development and capacity building. We have already increased the training slots for Mauritius under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme to 170 for civilian programmes and 100 for defence-related programmes. These slots can be increased to meet further demands. It is heartening to note the rise in the number of Mauritian students availing of the 100 educational scholarships offered by the Government of India annually.

I thank the Government of the Republic of Mauritius for its valuable support on global issues of vital importance to India. Mauritius has been steadfast in its condemnation of international terrorism. India is also grateful to Mauritius for consistently supporting our rightful claim for permanent membership in an expanded United Nations Security Council. I am also grateful to Mauritius for extending whole-hearted support to the process of revitalising the Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).

Piracy in the Indian Ocean region adversely impacts us all. We are committed to the safety and security of Mauritius and will continue to work towards enhancing our cooperation in the security arena. Indian Naval ships will continue to undertake joint anti-piracy and EEZ surveillance exercises with their Mauritian counterparts to ensure maritime security in these waters. We are ready to assist the Government and the people of Mauritius, on security-related issues, in accordance with the requirements and priorities of the Government of Mauritius.

My discussions today with Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, have established a firm roadmap for the consolidation and enhancement of our mutually beneficial bilateral relations. Ours is a strategic partnership which has the well-being of our peoples at its core. I have invited Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam to visit India on mutually convenient dates, which could be decided through diplomatic channels.

Thank You.