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Mauritius contemplates a key trade pact with India during Jaishankar’s visit | India News


Chancellor S Jaishankar will travel to Mauricio on Saturday to promote a trade and investment agreement with the island nation and one of India’s key partners in the Indian Ocean region. However, the minister will land amid civil unrest, with opposition parties and civil society groups calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and his government.
Last week Mauritius Chancellor Nandcoomar Bodha resigned and has positioned himself as a challenger to Jugnauth. In an exclusive conversation with TOI, Bodha spoke about the causes of the unrest and the future of India-Mauritius ties.
Bodha described himself as the “last of the Mohicans” and said he resigned as minister and general secretary of the ruling Socialist Militant Movement (MSM) party. “I have served under Sir Aneerood Jugnauth for centuries, so in a sense I am the last of the Mohicans. I have served in government for years, but I think the time has come when we need something more. ”
“Since last August there have been riots, against corruption and fraud. Last weekend there was a massive demonstration in which civic groups and NGOs joined with the main political parties. The demonstration was a protest against the prime minister’s leadership. In Mauritius, a small controlling clique is believed to run the show. There is a clamor for fundamental change. ”Bodha said.
In his resignation statement, the former foreign minister said: “This new vision will encompass the dreams and aspirations of all Mauritians. When we listen to the people of Mauritius, it is clear that their ideals and aspirations go far beyond what we have offered them so far as a political class ”.
Bodha said: “I will dedicate myself to this new vision of a new and modern Mauritius.” He added that if six or seven more leaders resigned, the Jugnauth government would be in the minority and elections would be inevitable.
Stating that the country cannot function as it is today, Bodha said: “I am talking to everyone in the opposition: political parties and civil society groups. I am going to present a manifesto with a series of proposals for the next few years. I am confident that this will be a national program. I am trying to crystallize this desire for change. I will be traveling all over the country. I have a team of technicians, outstanding young people, who have not been in politics before. I am sure that the program will have the support of the people of Mauritius ”.
India and Mauritius will sign a free trade agreement, Bodha said.
“Jaishankar’s visit will be important because we are signing this free trade zone agreement. It will open trade and investment relations between India and Mauritius. Mauritius may export certain products to India. It would open up investment and trade. It will help India to access Africa through Mauritius – we speak French and Hindi, the only country in the world that does. We are part of the African Union and SADC ”.
India, he said, is opening up to Africa. “We can be useful.” In terms of security, Bodha said that India has an important role. “India can be important, in the maritime security of the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific. In terms of maritime security in the Indian Ocean, we have the Chagos archipelago where we have the Diego García base. We have a sovereignty issue and a dispute with the United Kingdom and the United States. I believe that India can be instrumental in bringing everyone together to find a solution for us. ”

Times of India