New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S Jaishankar on Monday called on Mauritius foreign minister Alan Ganoo, during his two-day visit to the African country. Both sides reviewed the bilateral relations and successful development partnership between the countries.
After concluding his two-day visit to the Maldives, Dr. Jaishankar landed in Mauritius on Sunday.
“Delighted to begin Mauritius visit with a meeting with FM Alan Gentoo. Reviewed our excellent bilateral relations and successful development partnership, Reiterated that India will be a ready partner in Mauritius economic recovery and revival efforts,” the minister wrote on Twitter.
Earlier today, Dr. Jaishankar met Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and discussed a gamut of bilateral relations between the two nations. Both sides held comprehensive discussions on the status of implementation of various infrastructure projects.
On the sidelines, India also signed a $100 million Defence Line of Credit with Mauritius under the Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) mission. It will enable Mauritius to procure defence assets from India as per the needs.
It is important to note that, days after the Union cabinet approved the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA), the EAM and Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, on Monday finally signed the agreement. It is India’s first such agreement with an African country.
“India is privileged to have entered into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) with Mauritius. This Agreement is India’s first-such Agreement with an African country as noted by the Prime Minister,” said Dr. Jaishankar while addressing a joint press briefing with Mauritius Prime Minister.
“It will provide a timely boost for the revival of our post-covid economies and also enable Indian investors to use Mauritius as a launch-pad for business expansion into continental Africa helping the prospect of Mauritius emerging as a ‘hub of Africa’.
The CECPA provides preferential access to Mauritius for the bulk of the trade and also for many aspirational items for the future into the Indian market of over a billion people. These include frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment, and apparel.
The current global imports of India on these products are well over US$ 15 billion. This is therefore a significant opportunity for Mauritius to benefit from access to the Indian market. Just to illustrate some of the benefits, Mauritius will get preferential access for the export of 40,000 tonnes of sugar into India early frame. Similarly, there will also be access to the export of 7.5 million pieces of apparel.
“As regards trade in services, India has offered 95 sub-sectors from 11 broad services sectors. Services contribute, I believe, 76% of the GDP of Mauritius, and CECPA will surely boost the dynamism of the services sector in Mauritius.
The CECPA could also facilitate Indian investment in the services sector in Mauritius, especially in the ICT sector as Indian companies could benefit by leveraging the bilingual prowess of Mauritius for investments in Francophone Africa,” Dr. Jaishankar said during the briefing.
Dr. Jaishankar’s visit to Mauritius reflects India’s very principle of ‘neighbourhood first’ and its continuous efforts to boost bilateral bond with its neighbouring countries. India has been a helping hand to Mauritius to revive its economy and has facilitated infrastructural growth in the African country.
He further appreciated Mauritius Prime Minister and his team for commendably managing the COVID 19 pandemic through timely and decisive measures.
“Your government is now focused on economic recovery and revival of livelihoods, an effort in which India, I assure you, will be a ready partner,” the minister added.
India is the largest development cooperation partner of Mauritius with a focus on people-oriented projects. A special economic package of $353 million was extended to Mauritius in 2016 as grant assistance for five key infra-projects including the metro express project, social housing project, Supreme Court building, ENT Hospital and the E-Tablet project. A Government of India supported Line of Credit of $500 million has also been extended to Mauritius in 2017 for various infrastructure projects.
Moreover, India also handed over 1,00,000 additional doses of commercially procured Made in India COVID vaccines under its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative.
Later, in his joint press briefing, Mauritius Prime Minister Jugnauth said, “As India seeks to step her vast and multilayered cooperation with the African continent, for the next edition of the India-Africa Forum, Mauritius aspires to play a greater role in these engagements as a gateway between India and Africa.”
Reiterating about the CECPA signed between the two nations, Minister Jugnauth said that its far-reaching and should unleash new and expanded opportunities in trade, goods and services, investment, economic cooperation and technical assistance.
Mauritius is India’s key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’.
EAM’s visit is testimony to the importance that India attaches to its close and friendly relations with Mauritius and is expected to lend further momentum to substantive cooperation and robust people to people ties between the two countries, a statement from MEA stated.