- Highlight the importance of the Indian Ocean and the great power struggle in the region
- Mention how Mauritius plays a significant role in the region
- Mention the benefits for India and opportunities Mauritius offers
- Source: https://indianexpress.com/
article/opinion/columns/ pravind-jugnauth-a-new-mould- for-mauritius-military-bases- 6147423/
Mauritius is a sovereign entity with a unique national culture and an international identity of its own. Indo-Mauritian relations refers to the historical, political, economic, military, social and cultural connections between the Republic of India and the Republic of Mauritius. The prime minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth, who returned to power in the recent general elections, is due to visit India
Evolution of Indo—Mauritian relations:
- Connections between India and Mauritius date back to 1730, diplomatic relations were established in 1948 before Mauritius became an independent state.
- For far too long, Delhi has viewed Mauritius through the prism of diaspora. This was, perhaps, natural since communities of Indian origin constitute a significant majority in the island
- More recently, Delhi has certainly begun to see the strategic significance of Mauritius thanks to the renewed great power contestation in the Indian Ocean.
- In 2014, Prime Minister Modi saw Mauritius as part of India’s neighbourhood and invited its leaders to join his inauguration along with other South Asian leaders.
- In 2015 that Modi unveiled an ambitious policy called the SAGAR (security and growth for all). It was India’s first significant policy statement on the Indian Ocean in many decades.
Significance of Mauritius to India:
- Geo-strategic significance:
- In 2015, the Indian Prime Minister signed an agreement to set up eight Indian-controlled coastal surveillance radar stations
- Mauritius is part of India’s security grid including Coastal Surveillance Radar (CSR) station of Indian Navy’s National Command Control Communication Intelligence network
- if Delhi takes an integrated view of its security cooperation in the southwestern Indian Ocean, Mauritius is the natural node for it.
- Geo-economic significance:
- India is Mauritius’s largest trading partner and has been the largest exporter of goods and services to the Indian Ocean island nation since 2007.
- The French description of the island as a “central geographic point” holds equally true for commerce and connectivity in the Indian Ocean.
- As a member of the African Union, Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Indian Ocean Commission, Mauritius is a stepping stone to multiple geographies.
- If Delhi appreciates the value of Mauritius as a regional hub, a number of possibilities present themselves. One, as new investments pour into Africa, Mauritius is where a lot of it gets serviced. Mauritius can be the fulcrum for India’s own African economic outreach.
- Mauritius as pivot of Delhi’s island policy:
- until now India has tended to deal with the so-called Vanilla islands of the southwestern Indian Ocean — Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Reunion and Seychelles — on a bilateral basis.
- If the Indian establishment thinks of them as a collective, it could make Mauritius the pivot of Delhi’s island policy.
- Economic opportunities:
- the Mauritius pivot can facilitate a number of Indian commercial activities in the southwestern Indian ocean — as a banking gateway, the hub for flights to and from Indian cities and tourism.
- India could also contribute to the evolution of Mauritius as a regional centre for technological innovation.
- Common challenges:
- climate change, sustainable development and the blue economy are existential challenges for Mauritius and the neighbouring island states.
- Mauritius will be the right partner in promoting Indian initiatives in these areas.
- It could also become a valuable place for regional and international maritime scientific research.
- The urgent need for New Delhi is to discard the deep-rooted perception that Mauritius is simply an extension of India.
- Delhi must take a fresh and more strategic look at Mauritius.
- One way of getting there is to have an early Indian summit with the leaders of the Vanilla Islands.
- India, with its strong intelligence network, will also be helpful in maritime law enforcement by Mauritius and Seychelles.
- While declaring support for India’s maritime security plans, there is need to pointed out that small nations are equally important in the contemporary world order and need to be taken seriously for the sake of preserving the security and order.
- Companies registered in Mauritius are the largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into India, making it crucial for India to upgrade its bilateral tax treaty, adopting the latest international practices that prevent multinational companies from artificially shifting profits to low tax countries.
Our close multifaceted relations have steadily developed over the years, based on the secure foundations of kinship and family ties, and of shared values of democracy, tolerance, peace and development. It is time that both nations take it forward with mutual cooperation.