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Modi, Jugnauth inaugurate airstrip, jetty, 6 other India-assisted projects in Mauritius

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NEW DELHI, Feb 29: India and Mauritius are natural partners in the maritime domain to combat traditional and non-traditional challenges in the Indian Ocean region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday after virtually inaugurating a new airstrip, a jetty and six community development projects in the island nation.

The India-assisted projects in Agalega island of Mauritius are seen as significant as they are expected to boost connectivity as well as maritime security and surveillance in the strategic waters in the region.

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After inaugurating the projects along with Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, Modi announced that Mauritius will be the first country to join India’s Jan Aushadhi scheme, which is an initiative aimed at providing quality medicines at affordable prices.

In his remarks, Modi flagged concerns over challenges in the Indian Ocean region and said India and Mauritius are “natural partners” in the maritime domain to deal with them.

“Many traditional and non-traditional challenges are emerging in the Indian Ocean Region. All these challenges affect our economy. India and Mauritius are natural partners in the field of maritime security to deal with the challenges,” he said at the virtual ceremony.

“We are actively working to ensure security, prosperity and stability in the Indian Ocean Region. We are cooperating together in all areas like monitoring of exclusive economic zone, joint patrolling, hydrography, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” he said.

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Modi’s comments came amid increasing concerns in New Delhi over China’s growing military forays into the Indian Ocean region which is largely considered as the backyard of the Indian Navy.

He said the inauguration of the airstrip and jetty at Agalega island will further advance the cooperation.

The prime minister described Mauritius as an important partner under India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy and that the bilateral development partnership has been an important pillar of the strategic relations.

“Our development partnerships are based on the priorities of Mauritius. Be it Mauritius’s needs related to EEZ (exclusive economic zone) security, or health security, India has always respected the needs of Mauritius,” he said.

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Modi said the basic objective of India’s efforts is to bring about meaningful changes in the lives of common people in Mauritius.

“Today holds a special significance for our development partnership. I am extremely happy that today we are seeing the completion of the commitment I had made in 2015. In India these days it is being called ‘Modi’s Guarantee’,” he said.

The prime minister also talked about the “vibrant, strong and unique” partnership between India and Mauritius, adding the island nation is New Delhi’s special partner under its vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth For All in the Region).

“Our relations have gained unprecedented momentum in the last 10 years. We have achieved new heights in mutual cooperation,” he said.

The inauguration of these projects came weeks after the launch of India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) systems and RuPay card services in Mauritius.

“We are making history today on the island of Agalega with the inauguration of a new airstrip, a new jetty and several other development projects,” Jugnauth said at the event.

“This event marks a great moment for the remarkable and exemplary partnership between Mauritius and India,” he said. (PTI)




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