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Hon‘ble Raksha Mantri’s Speech at the Deck Reception on-board INS Darshak

Hon’ble  Raksha Mantri’s Reception on-board INS Darshak (11 December 2016)

Hon’ble Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Pravind Jugnauth,

Hon’ble Ministers,

Hon’ble Members of the National Assembly,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

As I conclude my visit to Mauritius, I am delighted to address you at this reception today on-board the Indian Survey ship INS Darshak.

Seeing so many dignitaries of Indian origin here, I am reminded of The Atlas, which brought 36 brave ‘Girmityas’ from Kolkata to Mauritius on 2nd November 1834. This ancestral linkage between India and Mauritius has not merely survived the passage of time but flourished on the Mauritian soil, as manifested in the diverse linguistic and cultural traditions of Mauritius. Our special connection has also been recognised internationally. The Aapravasi Ghat was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006. Just last week, the Bhojpuri Geet-Gawai got inscribed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in the UNESCO, for which, the loudest cheers came from India.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Indian Ocean binds India and Mauritius closely together. It does not separate us. It does not divide us. Indeed, it unites us. And therefore the defence and protection of these waters is in our common security interest. One of the strongest symbols of our bilateral maritime cooperation is the joint EEZ surveillance undertaken by the Indian Navy and the Mauritius National Coast Guard. As the global security architecture struggles against indiscriminate acts of terrorism and other threats that visit us from the seas, we need to be prepared to effectively counter them through careful surveillance of our waters and coasts. The Indian Navy is committed to deepening its collaboration with the Mauritius National Coast Guard in this regard. I take this opportunity to salute our brave men in uniform who have pledged to stand guard over our seas.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Historically, the Indian Ocean region has been a bustling hub of trade and commerce. Today the drivers of world economic growth are located in Asia and Africa. As a result, the waters of the Indian Ocean are churning with the tides of thriving economic activity. The protection of the sea lanes of communication between Asia and Africa, and from there to other parts of the world, is therefore of vital importance.

If we have to successfully tap the immense opportunities in Asia and Africa, we must deal with both, traditional and non-traditional security challenges, effectively. The Indian Ocean littorals, in particular, need to augment regional cooperation for combating threats such as drug smuggling, transnational crime, human trafficking, illegal fishing, piracy and terrorism. We also need to put in concerted efforts for effective maritime security governance, enhanced disaster preparedness and response and improved climate change mitigation measures.

In this regard, the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) presents a robust mechanism for consolidating regional cooperation amongst the Indian Ocean littoral states. Rooted in a consensus based approach that focuses on regional and bilateral collaboration focusing on development, defence and diplomacy, IORA embodies the concept of SAGAR - Security And Growth for All in the Region - as enunciated by Hon‘ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, during his visit to Mauritius in March 2015.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to thank Hon‘ble Ministers, Members of Parliament and all our esteemed guests for joining us today. As we strengthen our maritime security cooperation with Mauritius, we will continue to rely on your full support in the years ahead.

May I now invite you all to join me in raising a toast to our time-tested friendship!

Thank You!


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