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Visit of MOS Dr. Shashi Tharoor to the Republic of Mauritius

Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs was in Mauritius on an official visit from November 1-3, 2009. On his arrival (Nov 1), Dr. Tharoor was received by H.E. Dr. The Honourable Vasant Kumar Bunwaree, Minister of Education, Culture & Human Resources of the Republic of Mauritius.

Dr. Tharoor was the Chief Guest at the celebrations commemorating the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the indentured labourers from India in Mauritius (Nov 2). The annual function, Aapravasi Divas, is held at the historic Aapravasi Ghat where the first indentured India labourers landed on November 2, 1834. In his address, Dr. Tharoor recalled the difficulties which would have been encountered by the forebears of current Mauritians to make Mauritius what it is today. He noted that India and Mauritius enjoyed traditional bonds of friendship and kinship founded on a historical and shared cultural heritage and assured that India is ready to share its experience with Mauritius and move towards consolidation and expansion of its multi-dimensional partnership and remain committed to a mutually beneficial comprehensive engagement. 

During his visit, Dr. Tharoor called on H.E Sir Anerood Jugnauth, President of the Republic of Mauritius and H.E. Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius. He also met H.E. Dr. Arvin Boolell, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade. Bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest were discussed during these meetings. The strength and content of bilateral cooperation were reviewed during these meetings. 

On Nov 3, Dr. Tharoor handed over the Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited, Bengaluru to Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam. The ALH was thereafter inducted into the Mauritius Police Force. The induction of the Dhruv ALH into the Mauritius Police Helicopter Squadron will allow patrolling and search and rescue operations and participation in disaster relief and emergency medical missions. It is ideally suited for VIP transport. Prime Navin Ramgoolam and Dr. Tharoor, accompanied by Foreign Minister Arvin Boolell also flew in the helicopter. 

An Inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Republic of Mauritius for the supply of the Coastal Surveillance Radar System from India to Mauritius and an Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Mauritius and M/s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), India for the Supply, Installation and Commissioning of Coastal Surveillance Radar System were signed in the presence of Dr. Tharoor and Prime Minister Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam (Nov 3). This provides for the setting up of eight (8) Coastal Surveillance Radar Systems in the Republic of Mauritius. Five (5) of these systems will be set up on the main island of Mauritius besides one (1) each on the islands of Rodrigues, Agalega and St. Brandon Islands. Training and technical support will be offered by BEL to Mauritian personnel. An India-Mauritius Joint Monitoring Committee will be set up consisting of members from the Government of India, Government of Mauritius and BEL to facilitate the implementation of the project and review the progress of work. 

During Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam’s State Visit to India in October 2005, the Government of India agreed to the request of the Government of Republic of Mauritius to provide a Line of Credit of US$ 100 million with a grant component of US$ 25 million. The ALH Dhruv costing US$ 10.4 million and the Coastal Surveillance Radar System worth Euro 2.4 million are both covered under the grant element of the Line of Credit. 

While in Mauritius, Dr. Tharoor delivered an address to a 800-member audience in the University of Mauritius on the subject “India-Africa: Partners in Development”. The address was well received. 

Dr. Tharoor also visited the Secretariat of the Indian Ocean Rim – Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC). 

During the course of his visit, Dr. Tharoor visited SSR Botanic Garden, Pamplemousses and laid the wreath at the Samadhi of Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the Father of the Nation of Mauritius. He visited the Le Morne World Heritage Site, a site in memory of the slaves who arrived in Mauritius over two centuries ago. He also visited Ganga Talao, where he was received by His Excellency Mr. Anil Bachoo, Minister of Public Infrastructure, Land Transport and Shipping. He also interacted with various socio-cultural organisations in Mauritius. Dr. Tharoor also met members of the Mauritius Writers Association. 

Port Louis 
November 03, 2009 

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