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Remarks by High Commissioner of India Mrs K. Nandini Singla on LAUNCH OF PHASE III OF METRO EXPRESS PROJECT ( Rose- Hill to Reduit) 22 January 2023


(22 January, Mauritius)

The Honorable Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius

The Honorable Mr. Alan Ganoo, Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade

Mr. Das Mootanah, CEO of Metro Express Ltd.

Mr. Rajeev Jyoti, Chief Executive, Larsen & Toubro

Esteemed Dignitaries,

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Namaskar! Good afternoon! Bon après-midi à tous!

My warmest felicitations to everyone on Phase 3 of the Metro Project being inaugurated in just over 3 years - yet another important milestone in our impressive journey together on the Metro Express! On this happy occasion, I have the honour to read out a message from the Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of India, Shri Narendra Modi.  With your permission Excellency, I will begin:

Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen,

With your kind indulgence, I would like to say a few words of my own on this auspicious occasion. This is the third Metro inauguration in my two years here as the High Commissioner, after the Rose Hill–Quatre Bornes and the Phoneix–Curepipe segments.  This is perhaps one of the few projects in the world where milestones are being achieved, ahead of schedule. The speed, quality and efficiency with which this mega infrastructure project is being executed, has made it a flagship project and we, as India, feel very proud to partner the Government of Mauritius in such a project!

  1. In fact, the Metro Project itself, has emerged as a landmark milestone in the development journey that Mauritius and India have been walking together, over the last several decades. This is India’s first-such Metro project in Africa and Mauritius has shown how a single Project can positively transform the lives of so many people by providing safe, comfortable, quick and affordable transport, in an environmentally sustainable way, while also literally becoming a vehicle for the country’s economic growth and development. The fact that more than 14 million Mauritians have already used the Metro and more than 45,000 Mauritians are using it daily, attests to the growing popularity of this transport system, which has re-introduced the Railways back into Mauritius after 6 decades.
  1. None of these accomplishments would have been possible without the vision, leadership and commitment of His Excellency, Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, and the hard work of his team. I would like to convey my heartfelt thanks and sincere congratulations to the Hon. Prime Minister, Honorable Minister Alan Ganoo, the Government of Mauritius and everyone involved with the Project, including our Indian companies RITES and Larsen & Toubro, for making this India-funded Metro Project, a reality in record time, and for making it an inspiring success story for the rest of the world.
  1. India is honoured to continue its support for the further extension of the Metro project from Reduit to Cote d’Or, through a 300 million dollar Line of Credit and a 25 million dollar Grant. We are confident that this new phase will also be impressively executed and that it will continue to positively transform the Mauritian landscape as well as the lives of Mauritians.
  1. I am also deeply grateful that the Reduit station which caters mainly to University students, is named after one of the tallest leaders the world has known - Mahatma Gandhi. I believe that this is particularly befitting, given that Gandhiji’s exhortation to Indian indentured labourers when he visited Mauritius in 1901, to educate themselves and become politically empowered, helped change the destiny of our ancestors in this country. The iconic Dandi March sculpture is especially meaningful, since Mauritians chose 12th March, the date on which Gandhiji began his Dandi March, as the Independence Day of Mauritius; and 24 years later, also as the Republic Day of Mauritius! It was also on 12th March 2021 that our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi flagged off ‘Dandi March’ from Sabarmati Ashram to launch India’s two-year Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations of India’s 75th year of independence. Dandi March is therefore a shared, sacred icon for our two peoples; a date that marks the very foundations of our existence as sovereign, independent nations. I have no doubt therefore, that the Mahatma Gandhi Station with the beautiful Dandi March sculpture, Gandhiji’s life-size statue, the Charkha symbolizing self- reliance and his inspirational quotes, will remind the Mauritian people, of the timeless bonds that bind our two countries. Even if 1% of the commuters each day are positively impacted by these, I think it will have a transformative impact, not only on Mauritius, but the world! On behalf of more than 1.3 billion Indians, I convey my deep gratitude to the Government of Mauritius for memorializing this important dimension of our shared history, for future generations.
  1. As Prime Minister Modi said, the fact that we are celebrating this milestone in the year 2023 that marks the 75th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, also reflects the journey we have traversed together - from being two brotherly countries with shared history, to becoming modern, 21st century development partners, guided by our shared vision of improving the lives of our people and our commitment to the values of democracy and pluralism.
  1. In fact, we already started this special year 2023 on a special note - Mauritius sent the second largest delegation in the world to India’s 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention in Indore, with more than 500 Mauritians, representing more than 15% of the total delegates and also representing the largest number of Ministers from any country! On behalf of the government and the people of India, I thank Your Excellency Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauthji, for your leadership in setting up a National Organizing Committee to anchor this impressive delegation and for nurturing the khoon ka rishta and dil ka rishta that Mauritians share with Bharat Mata.
  1. 2023 is also the year when we look forward to more such intense engagements at the G20 and to hearing Mauritius’s voice in this important global platform. It is also the year when we conclude our Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations and start our journey towards Amrit Kaal, when India turns 100 in 2047. Looking at the robust strengthening of our partnership and the ever-growing affection between our peoples, I am confident that the coming years will also be a Amrit Kaal for India-Mauritius relations, with the best yet to come!

Bharat-Mauritius Maitri Sadaa Amar Rahe!

Aap sabhi ko nav varsh ki haardik shubhkaamnayein!

Aur Maha Shivratri ke paawan parv ki agrim badhayeeyan!

Thank you! Namaskar.

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