India and Mauritius on Wednesday cemented their long-standing friendship and economic cooperation with new agreements on infrastructure building, maritime economy and defence, green economy, research and development, exchange of experts and information technology, besides embarking on a host of new initiatives.
During the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Indian Ocean island nation, the two countries signed key agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in various fields aimed at strengthening bilateral relations, especially in the Indian Ocean Region.
Both countries signed a MoU for setting up and upgrading infrastructure for improving sea and air connectivity at Agalega Island, the outer island of Mauritius.
The infrastructure cooperation will also enhance the capabilities of the Mauritian defence forces in safeguarding their interests in the outer island.
Addressing the Mauritian Parliament, Modi said, ''For India and Mauritius, our destinies are linked by the currents of the Indian Ocean. Our security partnership has been a strong pillar of our relationship. And, it has stood the test of time. It is founded on unmatched mutual confidence and trust. It is rooted in the responsibility to each other that comes naturally from our friendship. It stems from our shared commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region.''
Later in the day, Modi commissioned the Barracuda class patrol vessel into the service of Mauritian National Coast Guard.
Besides this, the Indian government has already cleared exports of 13 other warships to Mauritius and these are expected to be supplied in the coming year.
Modi said as Mauritius assumes greater responsibility for securing this part of the Indian Ocean, we know that our region will be a safer place..
The two sides also entered into a MoU in the field of ocean economy, for mutually beneficial cooperation for exploration and capacity development in the field of marine resources, fisheries, green tourism, research and development of ocean technology, exchange of experts and other related activities.
India's ministry of agriculture and the ministry of agro-industry and food security and Mauritius, agreed to ensure 'facilitation of importing of Indian mangoes by Mauritius'.
Under a programme to promote people-people interaction during 2015-18, the two countries 'inter alia' agreed on mutual exchange of culture and knowledge, which include exchange of cultural troupes, organisation of cultural exhibitions, preservation of cultural heritage, promotion of Indian languages and exchange of students, among others.
In the healthcare sector, the two countries agreed to exchange expertise in traditional medicine to promote various Indian traditional systems that fall under the government of India's Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy (AYUSH) programme.
India has announced a new line of credit of $500 million for the development of civilian projects in Mauritius.
Modi also announced support for a second cyber city in Mauritius.
''While we are on the subject of information technology, the e-health project in Mauritius is a laudable initiative. And, we would be happy to support its development,'' Modi said.
Besides, he said, India will be embarking on a new project to build a petroleum storage facility in Mauritius, which would further strengthen the position of Mauritius as a regional economic hub.