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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 15.03.2013

I have just concluded my three-day visit to Mauritius as Chief Guest at the 45th anniversary of Independence Day celebrations. This was my second overseas and the first visit to Africa since I assumed the office of the President of India.

I was deeply touched by the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to me and my delegation. Once again I wish to thank the Government and people of Mauritius for the excellent arrangements made for my visit.

As you are aware, relations between India and Mauritius are unique and special given the historical relationship based on close ancestral ties. I had a rich, wide-ranging and useful exchange of views with the leadership of Mauritius on issues of bilateral, regional and global interest, in a very friendly atmosphere.

Over the last two days I had the opportunity to meet all members of the Cabinet of Mauritius and also had useful exchanges with the Speaker of National Assembly, Leader of Opposition, Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Mauritius. It pleases me greatly to see first hand that the desire for expanding positive relationship with India is shared by all Mauritian stakeholders.

India and Mauritius share values of democracy, rule of law and secularism. There is convergence of views between India and Mauritius on all major issues. The warm and good feelings towards India were evident in all matters.

During the visit, three Memorandums of Understanding were signed, which I believe will further expand our cooperation in new areas of tourism, health and medicine, senior citizens and persons with disability, to the mutual benefit of both our countries. On behalf of India, all the agreements were signed by Shri R.P.N. Singh, Minister of State for Home Affairs, and I think from their side it was their Foreign Minister. These represent a small vignette of the range of areas the two countries are working together.

My visit to ‘Apravasi Ghat’ was a moving experience as this place resonates with indomitable spirit of Indians who landed there, struggled against all odds and triumphed. Twenty-five years after Independence, Mauritius has made tremendous strides in socioeconomic development, and I wish them an even more prosperous future. I am honoured to receive Doctor of Civil Law honoris causa by the University of Mauritius.

I concluded my visit to Mauritius with a civic reception hosted by people of Grand Bois. It was an opportunity to meet with the rural people which Prime Minister Ramgoolam described as Soul of Mauritius. I was overwhelmed by the warmth and goodwill showed by the people of Mauritius and their respect for values and ideas that India represents.

I am happy that Shri R.P.N. Singh, Minister of State for Home Affairs, three hon’ble Members of Parliament – Shri Satyavrata Chaturvedi, Shri Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Shrimati Kusum Rai – from leading political parties in India could accompany me to meetings with the leaders of Mauritius.

I return to India convinced that India and Mauritius can further build on the existing multifaceted, mutually beneficial relationship. I am convinced that India should do its utmost to support Mauritius in every way possible and that together we should strive to take this relationship to greater and greater heights.

Thank you.