India to provide offshore patrol vessel to Mauritius

Last Updated: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 20:29

Port Louis (Mauritius): Stepping up
defence ties with Mauritius, India on Saturday agreed to provide an
off-shore patrol vessel (OPV) to the island nation that would
help it improve surveillance in surrounding pirates-infested
high-seas.

A Memorandum of Understanding to deliver the OPV was
signed during a meeting External Affairs Minister S M Krishna,
on a two-day visit here, had with Mauritius Prime Minister
Navinchandra Ramgoolam.
Besides the OPV, India is also building a Coastal
Surveillance Radar System for the volcanic island nation,
installation of which is expected to commence in September.

The 58-million-dollar OPV will help Mauritius police
its vast extended economic zone which is spread across an area
of 1.9 million sq km.

India has agreed to extend USD 10 million grant in aid
for the OPV while the balance amount will be met through a
line of credit extended to the nation.

"We have a very special relationship with India and
this will continue. We have signed a Memorandum of
Understanding on this offshore patrol vessel," Ramgoolam told
reporters after a 30-minute meeting with Krishna.

He said this was discussed during his official visit
to India and the MoU was needed to better equip the country
against threats of piracy and terrorism.

"In the light of what is happening in our region, we
should be better equipped and that is why we have signed the
MoU today. In our region, we have new elements like piracy and
also terrorism.
"We expect full cooperation from India and I am glad
we are receiving full cooperation from India," he said.

He also underlined the significance of the string of
eight radars that India is scheduled to install in Mauritius
and its neighbouring island of Agalega.

"We can pick up all the movement that happens in the
region we will be able to patrol the area better.

"We have the national coastguard and India helps us in
this tremendously but it is not good enough to be able to
control such an area," he said indicating that the radar
system would help fill in the gaps in surveillance.

Krishna said India looked forward to further
strengthening the already "good, cordial and friendly"
relations with Mauritius.

"We do realise how crucial and critical it is for
India to have security related relationship with Mauritius.
There is total identity of thinking with the Prime Minister of
Mauritius, he said.

"The Prime Minister mentioned about piracy, which is
bothering us also so I think a joint effort will have to be
made in order to prevent this so that peace and tranquility in
this part of the Indian Ocean is maintained," Krishna said.

Krishna also called on Mauritius President Anerood
Jugnauth and held discussions with Minister of Finance and
Economic Development Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Minister for
Energy and Public Utilities Rashid Beebeejaun.

Krishna will hold bilateral talks on a range of issues
with his Mauritius counterpart Arvin Boolell late in the
evening.

The Minister leaves for an official visit to
Mozambique tomorrow.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, July 3, 2010 - 20:29

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