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India-Mauritius Bilateral Relations | Joint Projects

India-Mauritius Bilateral Relations

Diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius were established in 1948. Mauritius maintained contacts with India through successive Dutch, French and British occupation.

From 1820s, Indian workers started coming to Mauritius to work on sugar plantations. From 1834, when slavery was abolished by the British Parliament, large numbers of Indian workers began to be brought to Mauritius as indentured labourers. November 2, 1834 marks the day when the ship ‘Atlas’ docked in Mauritius carrying the first batch of Indian indentured labourers. This day is now observed in Mauritius as ‘Aapravasi Day’. In all, about half a million Indian indentured labourers are estimated to have been brought into Mauritius between 1834 and the early decades of the 20th century, out of whom about two-thirds settled permanently in Mauritius.

A brief stopover by Mahatma Gandhi en route to India from South Africa (October 29 to November 15, 1901), while awaiting departure of his ship SS Nowshera, is still etched in the consciousness of Mauritius. Barrister Manillal Doctor, who came to Mauritius in 1907 on the suggestion of Gandhiji, helped the Mauritian Indian community to organise themselves and laid the foundation for their struggle for political and social rights. As a tribute to Gandhiji and the Indian freedom struggle, the National Day of Mauritius is celebrated on March 12 (the date of launch of Dandi Salt March).

Political Relations

From 1948 till Mauritius’ independence, Commissioners from India were sent on a regular basis. Following Mauritius’ independence on March 12, 1968, the first Prime Minister and the Father of the Mauritian Nation Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam accorded centrality to India in Mauritius’ foreign policy. Subsequently, successive Mauritian leaders ensured that India occupies a position of significance and importance in the foreign policy orientation and activities of Mauritius.

High level visits have been one of the significant aspects of bilateral relations. Hon’ble President Pranab Mukherjee paid a state visit to Mauritius from 11-13 March 2013, during which he was the Chief Guest at the country’s 45th Independence Day celebrations. Three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) relating to cooperation in the fields of health and medicine; persons with disabilities and senior citizens; and tourism were signed.

The then Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam was the only non-SAARC leader to be invited to witness the swearing in ceremony of the new Government in New Delhi in May 2014. During his visit, Dr. Ramgoolam held wide-ranging discussions with Hon'ble PM on matters of mutual interest. Dr. Ramgoolam also called on Hon’ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee.

Hon’bleExternal Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj visited Mauritius from 1-3 November 2014, to attend, as Chief Guest, the national level celebrations commemorating the 180th Anniversary of the arrival of Indian indentured labourers. Other elements of her visit included a Civic Reception, Reception onboard visiting Indian Naval Western Fleet Ships, a Business Meet organised by Board of Investment and Mauritian Chamber of Commerce and inauguration of International Conference on Indentured Labour Route at Mahatma Gandhi Institute.

Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Housing and Lands of Mauritius, Mr Showkutally Soodhun headed the Mauritian delegation to the 13th PBD in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 7-9 January 2015, and had meetings with Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj, and other senior Ministers. He also participated in the World Hindi Day celebrations in New Delhi on 10 January 2015.

Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited Mauritius from 11-13 March 2015, as Chief Guest at the Mauritian National Day celebrations. During his visit, PM Modi commissioned the OPV Barracuda, built by an Indian shipyard and financed by a GoI Line of Credit, into the Mauritian Coast Guard. He also launch the construction works of the World Hindi Secretariat and addressed a large and enthusiastic public gathering at a Civic Reception held in his honour. He also held wide ranging discussions with the then President Rajkeswur Purryag, the then Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth, and other senior Mauritian leaders. Five agreements in various areas of mutually beneficial cooperation, including Ocean Economy and Traditional Systems of Medicine, were signed. A Line of Credit of USD 500 million to finance civilian infrastructure projects was announced during the visit.

The then Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth visited New Delhi in October 2015 as head of the Mauritian delegation at the third India-Africa Forum Summit. He held wide ranging discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Summit.

President Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim paid a 4-day Official visit to India from 6-9 December 2015. She met Hon'ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Hon'ble Minister of External Affairs Smt Sushma Swaraj, and other dignitaries. She also visited Hyderabad, where she met Hon'ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh & Telengana, and visited places of cultural and historic significance.

In April 2016, Minister of State for AYUSH, Shri. Shripad Yesso Naik visited Mauritius in connection with the International (Regional) Conference on AYUSH organized by the High Commission of India in collaboration with the Office of the President of Mauritius and the Mauritius Ministry of Health and Quality of Life.

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Pravind Jugnauth was on an official visit to India from 12-18 September 2016. He called on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and had meetings with Smt Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs; Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance; Shri Suresh Prabakar Prabhu, Minister of Railways; and Shri Kalraj Mishra, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

The then Prime Minister Sir Anerood Jugnauth visited India from 09-21 November 2016. He was the Chief Guest at the Conference of Chief Justices of the World organized by the City Montessori School, Lucknow. Apart from Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Jugnauth also visited Goa and Maharashtra.

President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim visited India from 17-27 November 2016. She visited Chennai, Lucknow and Amritsar. She also chaired the 7th convocation of the Lovely Professional University and was conferred Honoris Causa by the University.

Raksha Mantri Shri. Manohar Parrikar visited Mauritius from 10-11 December 2016. Shri Manohar Parrikar called on Sir Anerood Jugnauth, the then Prime Minister of Mauritius and was the Special Guest of Honour at the Commissioning Ceremony of CGS Victory and two Chetak Helicopters. The CGS Victory, a Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (WFAC), was manufactured by Goa Shipyard Limited and funded by a Government of India Line of Credit. The two Chetak helicopters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), were gifted by Government of India to the Police Helicopter Squadron (PHS) of the Mauritius Police Force.

Shri Manohar Parrikar also called on the President of Mauritius, Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim on 11 December 2016 and interacted with seniors Cabinet Ministers of Government of Mauritius, including Vice Prime Minister Showkutally Soodhun and Finance Minister Pravind Jugnauth. 

Commerce and Industry Minister Asith Gungah visited India in December 2016, Health Minister Anil Gayan in December 2016, Minister of Cooperatives Soomilduth Bholah in January 2017, Art and Culture Minister Prithvirajsingh Roopun in January 2017, Outer Island Minister Mahen Jhugroo in February 2017, Minister Mentor SAJ in March 2017 and VPM Soodhun in March 2017.

Minister of MSME, Shri. Kalraj Mishra, visited Mauritius from 11-15 May 2017 as Special Guest of Honour at the International SME Innovation and Technology Fair and attended the 2nd Joint Committee Meeting on MSME.

Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth was on a State Visit to India from 26-28 May 2017. He was accompanied by his spouse, Mrs. Kobita Jugnauth, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Public Utilities, Mr. Ivan Collendavelloo, and other senior officials of Government of Mauritius. It was the first visit abroad undertaken by Prime Minister Jugnauth after he assumed office on 23 January 2017. External Affairs Minister of India Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Home Affairs, Shri. Rajnath Singh, Minister of Railways, Shri. Suresh Prabhakar, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri. Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce and Industry, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, and other leaders called on Prime Minister Jugnauth on 26 May 2017. Prime Minister Jugnauth also addressed a business event in New Delhi, jointly organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry, FICCI, Assocham and the Board of Investment, Mauritius, on 26 May 2017. Prime Minister Jugnauth was accorded a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan on 27 May 2017 following which he paid tribute and respect to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. Minister of Finance and Defence, Shri. Arun Jaitley, called on Prime Minister Jugnauth on 27 May 2017. Prime Minister Jugnauth met Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on 27 May 2017.

At the invitation of the Speaker of the National Assembly of Mauritius, Mrs. Santi Bai Hanoomanjee, an Indian Parliamentary delegation led by Speaker of Lok Sabha, Smt. Sumitra Mahajan visited Mauritius in June 2017. The delegation called on the President and Prime Minister of Mauritius, met the Speaker and members of the National Assembly apart from meetings with other senior political leadership of Mauritius.

A delegation from Government of Bihar led jointly by the Minister of Art, Culture and Youth, Shri. Shiv Chandra Ram, and Minister of Industries, Shri. Jai Kumar Singh visited Mauritius from 02-07 June 2017. The delegation comprised a ten-member folk vocal and instrumental music troupe, a ten-member painting, sculpture and handicrafts troupe, and officials from Government of Bihar.  The cultural delegation of artists and artisans held workshops and cultural performances at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Coromandel and Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture (IGCIC), Phoenix.

A delegation from Government of Haryana led by the Minister of Food and Supplies, Shri Karan Dev Kamboj, visited Mauritius from 06-08 July 2017. Shri. Kamboj was accompanied by Members of the Legislative Assembly of Haryana, Shri. Bhagwandass Kabirpanthi and Shri Subhash Sudha, and senior officials from Government of Haryana.

At the invitation of Government of Mauritius, Hon’ble Shri Yogi Adiyanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India and Hon. Shri Giriraj Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), Government of India, are on an official visit to Mauritius from November 1-3, 2017 to participate in the 183rd Anniversary of Aapravasi Divas on 2nd November 2017. Hon’ble Shri Yogi Adiyanath is the Chief Guest on the occasion. Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Yogi Adiyanath and Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) MSME, Shri Giriraj Singh called on Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Government of Mauritius on 1st November 2017. At the Aapravasi Divas, the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Yogi Adiyanath and Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) MSME, Shri Giriraj Singh addressed the distinguished audience of political leaders of Mauritius comprising of Hon. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius, the Rt. Hon. Sir Anerood Jugnauth, Minister Mentor and Minister of Defence and Rodrigues, Hon. Showkutally Soodhun, Vice Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, leaders of political parties, dignitaries from various walks of life and the media.

India and Mauritius have signed a wide range of bilateral agreements and MoUs. Some of them are the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC – signed in 1982, ratified in 1983; Protocol amending DTAC signed on 10 May 2016; ratified in July 2016), Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA-1998), MoU on Air Services (2005), Agreement on Cooperation in Information Technology (2000), MoU on Cooperation in Biotechnology (2002), Extradition Treaty (2003), MoU on Cooperation against Terrorism (2005), MoU on Cooperation in the field of Environment (2005), Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in Criminal Matters (2005), Agreement on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons (2005), MoU for Cooperation in the field of Hydrography (2005), MoU for Cooperation on Consumer Protection and Legal Metrology (2005),MoU Concerning Cooperation in the Exchange of Finance Intelligence Related to Money Laundering & Financing of Terrorism(2008), Protocol on the Sale of Navigational Charts; Agreement on Cooperation for the establishment of telemetry, tracking and tele-command station for satellites and launch vehicles and for cooperation in the fields of space research, science and applications; Supply Contract for the Coastal Radar Surveillance System (2009), Agreement on Early Warning of Coastal Hazards (2010), MoU on Science and Technology Cooperation (2012), MoU on Sports and Youth Affairs (2012), Educational Exchange Programme (2012), MOU on Textiles (2012), MoU between RGSC Trust Fund and NCSM for setting up a hybrid planetarium (2012), MoU on Cooperation in Election Management and Administration (2013), MoU on cooperation in MSME Sector (2013), MoU on cooperation in Communication and Broadcasting between Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation and Prasar Bharti (2014), MoU on Cooperation in Ocean Economy (2015), MoU in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine (2015), MoU on cooperation the field of Rural Development (2016) and MoU on Air Services Operation (2016).

MoU enabling remunerative employment of family members of diplomatic agents was signed between India and Mauritius in January 2017. An MoU on Cooperatives was signed between the two countries in January 2017 during the visit of Minister Soomilduth Bholah to India. Agreements appointing RITES for the Metro Express project and Project Trident, NBCC for the new Supreme Court and Social Housing projects as well as EdCIL for the digital tablets projects were signed in March 2017. An Agreement for Parliamentary Cooperation between Lok Sabha and the National Assembly of Mauritius was signed in June 2017, during the visit of the Indian Parliamentary delegation led by Speaker of Lok Sabha. Cultural Exchange Programmes (CEP) have been regularly conducted since 1971.

Commercial Relations

India is one of Mauritius’ largest trading partners and largest exporter of goods and services to Mauritius since 2007 and is the exclusive supplier of petroleum products to Mauritius. In FY 2015-2016 India exported goods worth US$ 856 million to Mauritius (registering a decrease from US$ 1.9 billion in FY 2014-15, largely due to low crude oil prices in FY 2015-16) and imported goods worth US$ 20 million from Mauritius. India’s exports to Mauritius comprise largely of petroleum products. A three-year Agreement between the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd (MRPL) and the State Trading Corporation of Mauritius for supply of all petroleum requirements of Mauritius was renewed in July 2016. Besides petroleum products, main items of India’s exports to Mauritius are pharmaceuticals, cereals, cotton, electrical machinery, and apparel and clothing accessories. Main items of Mauritius’ exports to India are iron and steel, pearls, precious/semi-precious stones and optical, photographic and precision instruments.

Cumulative FDI equity inflows from Mauritius to India during the period April 2000-March 2016 amounted to USD 95.91 billion (33% of total FDI inflows over this period), thanks largely due to the Double Taxation Avoidance Convention. Mauritius was the single largest source of FDI into India during the financial year 2015-16, with FDI equity inflows amounting to USD 8.35 billion - 20.8 % of total inflows in 2015-16. The protocol amending the India-Mauritius DTAC was signed in May 2016. For the 8-month period post DTAC-amendment (May-December 2016), total investment from Mauritius was USD 12.8 billion, compared to USD 8.35 billion in the preceding 12 months.

Eight Indian Public Sector Enterprises are currently functioning in Mauritius. The Bank of Baroda (BoB), Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), and New India Assurance Corporation (NIAC) were the first to establish operations, followed by other PSUs including India Handloom House, Telecommunications Consultant India Ltd (TCIL), IndianOil (Mauritius) Limited (IOML), Mahanagar Telephone (Mauritius) Ltd. and State Bank of India (Mauritius) Limited. Besides their core activities, the PSUs have also contributed to various activities in Mauritius under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) schemes.

Some high-visibility Indian-assisted projects in Mauritius include the Mahatma Gandhi Institute, the Upadhyay Training Centre, the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital, the Subramania Bharati Eye Centre, the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre and the Rabindranath Tagore Institute. Prestigious symbols of recent Indian assistance include the Cyber Tower at Ebene and the Swami Vivekananda International Conference Centre (SVICC).

The Offshore Patrol Vessel Barracuda, built by an Indian shipyard under a GoI Line of Credit, was commissioned into the Mauritian National Coast Guard during the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in March 2015. India also provides extensive capacity building and training inputs to the Mauritian armed forces, besides carrying out regular joint patrolling/surveillance exercises and in the Mauritian EEZ. India has also provided assistance in the setting up of Mauritius’s National Hydrographic Unit. On 12 July 2016, a new Dornier aircraft (using a US$16 Million Indian LoC), built by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), was inducted into the Mauritius Police Force/National Coast Guard. 

Over the past forty years, India has extended several Lines of Credit to Mauritius to assist in the development of its infrastructure, human resource, skills development, capacity building, project appraisal, etc. In March 2015, a new Line of Credit of USD 500 million for civilian infrastructure projects was announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to Mauritius.

Cultural Relations

The Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture (IGCIC) at Phoenix is one of the largest centres of ICCR, which from March 2000, has emerged as an important venue for promotion of Indian cultural activities in Mauritius. The IGCIC holds classes in disciplines of Hindustani music, Kathak, Tabla and Yoga for Mauritian students. A Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) (2015-2018) was signed in March 2015. Festival of India in Mauritius 2015 was organised from August 2015-May 2016 in collaboration with the local Ministry of Arts and Culture. The Festival was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of State for Culture Shri Mahesh Sharma on 21 August 2015.

The Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI) was founded as a joint venture between the Government of India and the Government of Mauritius for the promotion of Indian culture and education. The foundation stone  of the  Institute was laid on 3rd June 1970 by the then Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi and the then Prime Minister of Mauritius, Sir Seewoosagar Ramgoolam . It also hosts the ICCR Chair in Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy. The Rabindranath Tagore Institute was established with the assistance of the Government of India in 2000 as a Centre of Studies on Indian culture and traditions. Mauritius also hosts the World Hindi Secretariat. Yoga and traditional Indian systems of health (AYUSH) are extremely popular among the general public in Mauritius; the first and second International Day of Yoga were celebrated in the country on a grand scale while an International Conference on AYUSH was organised in April 2016. An active network of local socio-cultural organisations and language unions add further strength and vitality to the vibrant people-to-people contacts.

Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) has been India’s flagship capacity building programme since its inception in 1964 and has acquired a strong brand name in India’s development partnership with Mauritius. Mauritius is one of the largest beneficiary countries of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. Mauritian nationals have taken advantage of large number of scholarships offered by India on civilian and defence related training courses at Indian institutions (In 2016-17, there were 200 civilian, 21 Air Force and 92 Naval training slots under ITEC. For FY 2017-18 190 civilian slots have already been announced).

The Pan African e-Network Project was inaugurated on February 26, 2009 in Mauritius, which connected it other African countries and India through a satellite and fiber-optic network. It has benefited Mauritius with sharing of India’s expertise in education and health care. All three modes - VVIP, telemedicine and tele-education - are currently operational.

Mauritius is the largest beneficiary of Africa Scholarships under IAFS with 97 ICCR scholarships extended annually to Mauritian students for higher education in India. Another about 200 Mauritian students enrolls themselves in Indian Universities every year on a self-financing basis. India ranks fourth in terms of Mauritian students studying in overseas tertiary education institutions.

Indian Community

There are nearly 10,000 Indian nationals in Mauritius. A special carve-out for OCI Cards, only for Mauritius, without any restriction on the number of generations, was announced during 14th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in January 2017. Mauritius introduced a visa-free regime for Indian tourists in October 2004, whereby Indian tourists visiting Mauritius for a period up to 30 days do not require a visa. Mauritians are entitled to gratis E-tourist visa for visiting India.

Useful Resources:

High Commission of India, Port Louis website:

http://indiahighcom-mauritius.org/

High Commission of India, Port Louis Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/indiainmauritius

High Commission of India, Port Louis Twitter account:

https://twitter.com/HCI_PortLouis?lang=en

India Global- AIR FM Gold Program featuring India and Mauritius Relations:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8oyjsa4PYA

 

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December 2017


 

 
 
 


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