Indian Ocean connect: Modi brands India’s development partnership

Underlining that Mauritius is at the heart of India’s approach to the Indian Ocean region and approach to development partnerships, Prime Minister Narendra Modi branded India’s development partnership as one without “any conditions” or “political or commercial considerations.”

“Today we celebrate yet another land-mark in the special friendship between India and Mauritius. The new Supreme Court building in Port Louis is a symbol of our cooperation and our shared values,” Mr Modi said while jointly inaugurating the building with his Mauritian counterpart Pravind Jugnauth virtually on July 30.

“Both India and Mauritius respect our independent judiciaries as important pillars of our democratic systems. This impressive new building, with its modern design and construction, is a mark of this respect,” said Mr Modi.

“India’s approach to development is mainly human-centric. We want to work for the welfare of humanity. History has taught us that in the name of development partnerships, nations were forced into dependence partnerships. It gave rise to colonial and imperial rule. It gave rise to global power blocks. And, Humanity suffered,” said PM Modi.

“India is making development partnerships that are marked by Respect, Diversity, Care for the future, and Sustainable development. Friends, For India, the most fundamental principle in development cooperation is respecting our partners. This sharing of development lessons is our only motivation. That is why our development cooperation does not come with any conditions. It is not influenced by political or commercial considerations.”

These remarks are widely seen as targeted against China’s alleged debt trap diplomacy, as embodied in BRI projects.

Alluding to India’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region, PM Modi stressed that Indian initiatives in its neighbourhood are seen as demonstrative of its role as a reliable partner in the region and commitment to a shared sustainable future. PM Modi pointed out India’s partnerships in the region are diverse, spreading from commerce to culture. India assisted Afghanistan in building its Parliament building, assisted Nepal in constructing an emergency and trauma hospital, helped Sri Lanka establish emergency ambulance services in all provinces, all of which reflect the “development priorities” of partner nations. He emphasised what distinguishes Indian development cooperation was the core values of ‘Respect’, ‘Diversity’, ‘Care for the Future’, and ‘Sustainable Development’.

PM Modi expressed his confidence that India’s partnership with Mauritius is destined to soar even higher in the coming years. Looking ahead, PM Modi said: “The spirit of Mauritius is inspiring. Our partnership is destined to soar even higher in the coming years.” The Supreme Court building has been completed with grant assistance of USD 28.12 million from the Government of India and is the first India assisted infrastructure project to be inaugurated after the pandemic broke out. The building, which is spread over more than 4,700 sq m with 10 floors, has been completed on schedule.

Last year, PM Modi had jointly with his Mauritian counterpart inaugurated the first phase of Metro Express project and a 100 bed ENT hospital built with Indian partnership under a special economic package, in Mauritius. The Indian government has at several occasions reiterated its support for the current Maldivian administration’s efforts at socio-economic development. India and the Maldives signed a MoU on HICDPs during the visit of late former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in 2019 and a grant of $5.6 million was announced for these projects.

Prime Minister Jugnauth expressed his deep appreciation for India’s support for the project as reflective of the close ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. He noted that the construction of the Supreme Court Building with Indian assistance is a new milestone in the modernization of infrastructure in Mauritius and will help make the Mauritius justice system more efficient, accessible and inclusive.

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