Kovind lauds Indian community’s contribution to development of Mauritius

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind has lauded the Indian community’s contribution to development and prosperity of Mauritius.
Mr Kovind, who arrived here yesterday on the first leg of his State Visit to Mauritius and Madagascar, was received at the airport by Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and his entire Cabinet, dignitaries and local people.
He later addressed a gathering of students and young people at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute at Moka, where he also paid tributes before a statue of the Mahatma.
The President said he was honoured to be in Mauritius for a milestone moment in its history – the 50th anniversary of independence from colonial rule. March 12 marks not just the golden jubilee of the independence of Mauritius but also the 26th anniversary of this nation having become a republic, he added.
The first people from India arrived in Mauritius 200 years ago, in the 1820s. In 1834, the first indentured labourers from India reached these shores. From those early challenges, the Indian community has come a long way. It has contributed, along with its fellow citizens of diverse backgrounds, to making Mauritius a prosperous country and a model for this region.
"As a steadfast friend, India has been proud to support their efforts. The Indian community in Mauritius comprises those who trace their roots to a variety of Indian states, from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu to Gujarat to several others. They should become a living bridge between Mauritius and India, as also with individual states of India," he added.
The President said India’s affection and feeling for Mauritius is symbolic of shared aspirations for Africa and for the Indian Ocean Region. “Above all else, it is our people who bring us together. Mauritius is one of the largest participating countries in the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme."
"Over 300 young people from here undergo civilian and defence related training in India each year. Under India’s Africa Scholarships programme – part of the India Africa Forum Summit initiative – each year 97 scholarships are offered to Mauritian students for higher education," he added.
“Another 200 students enrol themselves in Indian universities on a self-financing basis. They come to India as cherished friends. And we send them back as ambassadors of India – and life-long believers in our partnership,” he said.
“The challenge before us is to modernise our society and economy without succumbing to an extractive and energy-guzzling model. India is making every effort to meet this challenge – but this challenge is not India’s alone. It is the challenge of every country and every global citizen. As an island nation, Mauritius is of course extremely conscious of this challenge,” Mr Kovind said.
“India sees Mauritius as central to the emerging institutional architecture of the Indian Ocean Region – and we want to sail together, and sail far, in these majestic waters. Our aspiration is for Mauritius to rise as a leading economy and a voice for peace and stability in the entire Indian Ocean Region,” he added.
Mr Kovind called on Mauritius President Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim at the State House. During the discussions, he said India was committed to its development cooperation partnership with Mauritius. It looks forward to further strengthening its capacity building and financial assistance programme for Mauritius.
 “We should ensure that the traditional strength, dynamism and exalted status of our bilateral relations are handed over to our youth to carry it forward. There is a need to engage the youth more in our bilateral, regional and diaspora networks,” he added.
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