Port Louis, Feb 22: India on Monday extended a USD 100 million Line of Credit to Mauritius to facilitate the procurement of Indian defence equipment, as the two countries signed a landmark Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement following talks between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth here.
Jaishankar, who arrived here in India's strategically key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean region on Sunday from the Maldives on the last leg of his two-nation tour, reviewed comprehensive and important bilateral relationship during his meeting with the Indian-origin prime minister.
"Our discussions, I believe, were very productive and forward looking, and we really reviewed all aspects of the relationship as well as status of implementation of various projects," Jaishankar said while jointly addressing the media with Prime Minister Jugnauth.
"A special USD 100 million defence Line of Credit has also been signed today which will enable the procurement of defence assets from India as per the needs of your Government. These initiatives underline once again that the Security of Mauritius is the security of India; in the prosperity of Mauritius is our prosperity, he said, reaffirming India's SAGAR policy.
Mauritius is one of India's key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister's vision of SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region).
The two sides also signed an agreement which will provide for a Dornier aircraft and an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv on lease to Mauritius on gratis basis for two years, helping shore up its capabilities to patrol and monitor its extensive maritime domain more effectively.
Describing it as "a special day in our special relationship", Jaishankar said 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 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'," he said.
Jaishankar also conveyed warm greetings from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Prime Minister Jugnauth.
"I conveyed to the Prime Minister an official invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit India at a mutually convenient time. I also extended a warm invitation to my friend and counterpart Foreign Minister Alan Ganoo to visit India at the earliest opportunity," he said.
He handed Prime Minister Jugnauth over 100,000 additional doses of commercially procured Made in India' COVID-19 vaccines.
"As one of our key priority partners, 100,000 doses of Made in India Covid-19 vaccines also reached Mauritius immediately after we rolled out our own vaccination program in India An additional 100,000 doses of vaccines also reached Mauritius today ," he said, asserting that India's helping hand was always over the horizon - responsive, resolute and reliable.
He assured Prime Minister Jugnauth that India will be a ready partner in his government's efforts on post-COVID economic recovery and revival of livelihoods.
"Despite challenges, it is impressive that all five development projects announced by India in 2017 under the Special Economic Package, have been completed. These include phase I of the Metro Express project, the new Supreme Court building, the new ENT hospital, the supply of electronic tablets for Mauritian school children and 956 Social Housing Units, which will be made operational soon," he said.
He also said that he discussed the issue of Chagos Archipelago with Prime Minister Jugnauth and he assured him of India's steadfast principled support on this issue as has been demonstrated in the past.
The minister hailed the deep emotional and cultural ties "between our people" and said the vibrancy of the Mauritius society and its traditions and the two sides enduring bonds of democracy and pluralism will always bind them together.
Jaishankar also called on Mauritius President Prithvirajsing Roopun during which the two leaders discussed the "super special" bilateral relationship.
"Thank President Prithvirajsing Roopun for receiving me. Warm discussion on our super special' relationship. Expressed satisfaction at the impact it has made on the lives of the people," he tweeted.
He also met the Leader of Opposition, Dr. Arvin Boolell, and emphasised India's strong and consistent support to the development of Mauritius.
The minister also held talks with Mouvement Militant Mauricien Party leader & former prime minister Paul Berenger on growing India-Mauritius ties. "Conveyed India's continued commitment to progress & development of Mauritius," he tweeted.
Indian-origin people constitute nearly 70 per cent of the population of Mauritius. Their ancestors were sent there as indentured labourers during the British rule.
Earlier, Jaishankar held talks with Foreign Minister M Alan Ganoo during which they reviewed the "excellent bilateral relations and successful development partnership.
"Reviewed our excellent bilateral relations & successful development partnership. Reiterated that India will be a ready partner in Mauritius' economic recovery & revival efforts," Jaishankar tweeted.