In the spirit of Lame dan lame, the theme of the 50th anniversary of the Independence of your country, let me reassure you that India will walk hand in hand and in harmony with Mauritius. India is privileged to be giving Mauritius a helping hand in implementing a range of transformational projects, ranging from the Metro Express, social housing and ENT Hospital to the new World Hindi Secretariat premises and infrastructure development in Agalega.
The President of the Republic of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, who is the chief Guest of the Government on the occasion of celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Mauritius, made this statement last night during a State Banquet hosted in his honour by the Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at the Swami Vivekananda International Convention Centre in Pailles. Several eminent personalities were present on this occasion.
In his address, Shri Kovind highlighted that from the days of supporting the Mauritian political and social emancipation in a bid to have sustained major priority projects, India has always been on Mauritius's side to work for the development and prosperity of all sections of society. He pointed out that India-Mauritius relations are very special as both countries have ancestral and familiar links that go back in time and that are still present.
The President of the Republic of India underlined that Mauritius is a gateway to the Indian Ocean region and to Africa before adding that our island can serve as a hub for Indian companies looking to reach out the African continent. India sees in Mauritius a trusted partner in realising the share vision of stability, peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region, he stated. In a view to foster closer people to people ties, all Mauritians of Indian descent became eligible for Indian citizenship under specific provision under the Overseas Citizen of India card scheme since last year, he said.
For his part, Prime Minister Jugnauth underscored that what makes Mauritius unique is the creation of a rainbow nation that necessitated adjustment, tolerance and respect for different faiths and cultures. He stressed that it is therefore apt that the theme for this year's celebration is Lame dan lame, as all citizens have walked and continue to walk hand in hand to build the country as one people and one nation.
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the support of the country's development partners and the solidarity of many sister nations without whom Mauritius would not have been able to achieve all its objectives. Mauritius will continue to work actively with other friendly countries in the fight against climate change, human and drug trafficking, organised crime and corruption, and piracy, and will also pursue our advocacy on the need for a stronger presence of Africa on the Security Council and a permanent seat for India, he added.
He further underpinned that Mauritius values the heritage it has from India, which has given the country core values such as integrity, self-respect, discipline, empathy, selflessness, and respect for elders and for family. This invaluable inheritance from India also constitutes the fundamental Mauritian spirit and as our island turns towards the future, we are poised to create a still more prosperous, unified and equitable nation, he stated.
Our people will join hands to propel the country to greater heights. We have done so before and we are doing it again, concluded the Prime Minister.