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Visit of survey ship INS Darshak Deck Reception

Visit of Survey Ship INS Darshak

Deck Reception

10 December 2019

Hon. Minister of Housing and Land Use Planning Mr. Steven Obeegadoo,

Senior Chief Executive officers from Government of Mauritius,

Commissioner of Police,

Commandant National Coast Guard,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

A very warm welcome to all of you aboard INS Darshak.

Hon. Minister, we are grateful to you for having accepted our invitation despite your busy schedule.

I may mention that the current round of survey is the first after the Hon. Minister has assumed the responsibilities of this important portfolio.

India and Mauritius are widely known for their extensive people-to-people ties. Our two countries are also maritime neighbours across the Indian Ocean.

While Mauritius is a large Ocean State, India, with a coastline of 7,500 km and a large number of islands, has had a strong seafaring tradition through millennia. Livelihood of millions of Indians depend on the ocean economy.

The importance of Ocean economy is becoming increasingly clear for sustainable development and for peace and prosperity of coastal nations. It holds true for both India and Mauritius and we share similar concerns and development priorities in this context.

Access to right information and data about our seas and oceans facilitate the development of ocean economy.

The techniques of gaining that information through maritime exploration and charting of sea surface have continued to improve with changes in technology. Its uses have also expanded manifold.

Updated Hydrography surveys provide data that are essential to enable the development of the full potential of the various aspects of ocean economy.

This data has multiple uses. Besides their obvious importance for safety of navigation and planning search and rescue operations, it is also helpful for policy makers in developing plans for marine tourism, building coastal infrastructure and laying of submarine cables and pipelines. The surveys also help in developing fisheries, mineral exploration and marine environment conservation.

It is, therefore, essential for any ocean state to develop technical expertise and capacities in the field of hydrography.

India has a long tradition in hydrography. The Indian National Hydrography Department based in Dehradun traces its roots to late 19th century. The institution is headed by an officer of the rank of Vice Admiral who is India’s Chief Hydrographer. Another Institution, which has a primary role of providing training is the National Institute of Hydrography. This was set up in Goa more than four decades ago in 1978.

Today India engages eight naval vessels manned by 100 officers and 500 sailors to conduct Hydrography activities.

India has partnered nine countries in the conduct of hydrographic exploration. We have also partnered 55 countries to train their experts in this field.

At the multilateral level, India has held the Chair of the International Hydrographic Organization for several terms. India chaired the North Indian Ocean Commission during 2017-18 and hosted the 2018 session of this Regional Commission in Goa.

India’s partnership with Mauritius in the field of Hydrography was formalized in 2005 and 13 surveys have been conducted since then. 8 navigational charts and 10 electronic charts prepared on the basis of these surveys have been handed over to the Government of Mauritius. Earlier this year, I was privileged to be part of the ceremony at which the charts relating to Rodrigues and South Mauritius were handed over. Our cooperation also includes training and capacity building.

Later this month, an Indian naval ship will visit Mauritius as part of the regular exchange which will provide an opportunity to renew joint patrolling of the EEZ of Mauritius with the National Coast Guard. This is another aspect of our collaboration in the field of maritime security, which helps in securing the large EEZ for its potential use.

This twin inter-linked concept of security and prosperity provides the basis for India’s vision for the Indian Ocean region – SAGAR Security And Growth for All in the Region - that was articulated by Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Mauritius in 2015.

Only last week Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Jugnauth met in Delhi and discussed various aspects of our ongoing and future areas of cooperation.

INS Darshak, which is hosting us this evening, was designed and built in India. It takes its name after the first indigenously designed survey ship that served the Indian navy for a long time. INS Darshak conducted surveys for Mauritius first time in 2012. It has also conducted surveys for Tanzania, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.

Such surveys are not easy. They require time and resources and above all painstaking efforts and meticulous research.

We are happy that our countries have worked closely on conducting these surveys which will continue to provide useful benefits to a range of stakeholders and policymakers.

The first phase of the current survey has been completed. The second phase commences tomorrow. I complement Captain Gurumani and his Indian and Mauritian colleagues for their hard work as they undertake these surveys. I understand that more than 10 Mauritian colleagues are working with the Indian officials on this survey.

I offer my best wishes for the success of your collective and joint efforts.

In conclusion, may I again thank the Hon. Minister for his presence here this evening, which provides us all with a lot of encouragement as we continue to pursue collaboration between our countries.

Thank you.

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