India on Monday promised Mauritius that it will remain a steadfast partner as the two nations advocated a rule-based architecture of global governance that will be a bulwark against challenges such as terrorism.
Arriving in Port Louis on a three-day visit to a red carpet welcome, President Pranab Mukherjee was hosted a banquet by Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam in which he recalled the long-standing, historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
"Both our peoples are drawn largely from the same historical, cultural and spiritual provenance."
"Both nations have abiding faith in the ideals of democracy and secularism and both nations intuitively advocate a rule-based architecture of global governance as a bulwark against common challenges such as the threat of terrorism, tackling poverty, human rights abuse, and addressing climate change," he said speaking at the banquet.
Mukherjee will be the chief guest at Mauritius' national day on Tuesday.
He said that the people of India appreciate the tribute paid by the people of Mauritius to Mahatma Gandhi, in selecting March 12, the day he began his iconic Dandi March, as the Independence Day of Mauritius.
Maintaining that the relationship between India and Mauritius has an unwavering vitality, the President said for several millennia, the Indian Ocean has been a key arbiter of the subcontinent's fortunes and Mauritius is the "proverbial Star and Key of the Indian Ocean".
"You are the proverbial Star and Key of the Indian Ocean. Naturally we have a convergence of interests as the Indian ocean straddles Asia and Africa. Let me assure you that India will remain a steadfast partner of Mauritius," he said.
Mukherjee said India was grateful to Mauritius for standing by on issues of great importance to India and Mauritius has been steadfast in its support of India's principled, moral and consistent stand on the issue of terrorism.
"We are grateful for your support for India's rightful claim to Permanent Membership of the United Nations Security Council," he said.
Mukherjee said the bilateral economic and commercial relations have grown in recent years but there still remain areas of untapped potential.
"India and Mauritius must explore new avenues and opportunities to enhance and enrich our engagement even further for our mutual benefit," he said.
Government of India figures indicate that during 2011-12, India exported goods worth $1.4 billion to Mauritius and imported goods worth $39.13 million from Mauritius.
India's exports to Mauritius are mainly cotton, pharmacveuticals, cereals, electrical machinery and clothing accessories. Main items of Mauritius's exports to India in 2011-12 were iron and steel, pearls, precious/semi precious stones etc.
According to the department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, cumulative FDI equity inflows from Mauritius to India during the period April, 2000 to November, 2012, amounted to $71.378 billion, which was 38 per cent of the total FDI equity flows into India over the period making Mauritius the single largest source of FDI into India.
During 2011-12, the FDI equity inflows from Mauritius amounted to $9.942 billion or 27.25 per cent of total FDI equity inflows during the period.
Referring to the communities of Indian-origin, the President said he would like to extend his felicitations and say to them that India was blessed with a diaspora that mirrors India's own rich diversity.
"Enriched by diverse linguistic, cultural and religious identities of India you have contributed immensely to the nation-building process of this land, too , making India equally proud of you and your achievements as citizens of this great country," he said.
The President said India and Mauritius symbolise the very triumph of its own civilisational ethos and character and the remarkable socio-economic progress attained by Mauritius exemplifies the victory of the principles that India holds dear to her soul, democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression, tolerance, social harmony and human enterprise.
Mukherjee said Mauritius had her own architects of freedom, outstanding men and women; steeled by moral conviction and unfazed by the odds that they were up against.
"Among them, none stood taller than Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, the Father of the Mauritian nation. Chacha Ramgoolam seized the essence of the struggle of his countrymen and women when he said, and I quote, 'The natural evolution of a people cannot be thwarted. That will be accomplished naturally as day follows night'".
"The indelible mark of Chacha Ramgoolam's vision can be seen today in the impressive progress achieved by this country over the last 45 years, most visibly in the crucial areas of education and health which are the cornerstones of a stable and prosperous," Mukherjee said.