Mauritius, India share common ambition of working for safe and secure Indian Ocean: PM Jagnauth

·3-min read

Port Louis, Feb 22 (PTI) Mauritius and India have the common ambition of working for a safe, secure and prosperous Indian Ocean, Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said on Monday after his meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during which they discussed a range of issues, including ensuring peace and respect for the rule of law in the strategically-vital Indo-Pacific region.

Jaishankar arrived here on Sunday from the Maldives on the last leg of his two-nation tour.

'This morning I had a very fruitful meeting with Jaishankar where we reviewed several aspects of our cooperation and relationship and how best to move forward,” Jugnauth while jointly addressing the media with Jaishankar.

Mauritius and India remain committed to working together bilaterally and as regional partners to enhance capacity for sustainable management of marine resources and to address challenges in the maritime domains, he said.

'We have the common ambition and responsibility of preserving and working for a safe, secure and the prosperous Indian Ocean,” he said.

'Ensuring peace and respect for the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific region was one of the issues which I discussed with Dr Jaishankar during our meeting today,” Jugnauth said, in a veiled reference to China.

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region. The Chinese military is also actively eying the strategic Indian Ocean region to step up Beijing influence.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

'I welcome the renewed commitment of the QUAD countries to upholding a rules-based international order under them respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international waters and peaceful resolution of disputes,” Jugnauth said.

'Adherence to these principles is crucial to the maintenance of peace and friendliness among nations based on the respect for the rule of law… I have no doubt that the visit of Dr Jaishankar will add a new impetus to the excellent relationship between Mauritius and India,” he said.

Quad ministerial is an informal grouping of four countries, namely, Australia, India, Japan and the United States.

In 2017, the four countries gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the 'Quad' or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China's aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We have converging views on the need to work together to strengthen the rules-based international order, global governance and institutions including those of the United Nations system,” Jugnauth said.

'India is helping more than 50 countries, including Mauritius, to boost space technology. We continue to look to India as an indispensable partner in building up air capabilities to derive benefits from space technology,” he said. PTI MRJ AKJ MRJ