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Mauritius accords red carpet welcome to President

J B S Umanadh, PORT LOUIS, March 11, 2013 DHNS 2:41 IST
Mauritius on Monday accorded a warm welcome to President Pranab Mukherjee at Seevoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport when he landed here for a three-day visit to the Indian Ocean island nation.

Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Raamgoolam and his wife, Veena, were at the airport to receive the President.

Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishta accompanied the President in this trip.
After the ceremonial inspection of guard of honour and introduction of the delegates, the President left for the Oberoi Hotel.

The national flags of India and Mauritius were hoisted all through the 30-km distance from the airport to Port Louis city. Local FM radios played Indian music. Banners welcoming the President were everywhere giving the island nation’s capital a festive look. President’s Press Secretary Venu Rajamony told Deccan Herald that the trip of the President is indeed significant looking at the cultural background of both countries.

“The President will be the chief guest at the 45th Independence day celebrations of Mauritius on Tuesday,” he added.

In New Delhi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Minister Farooq Abdullah and the three service chiefs were at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday morning to see off the President.

This is Mukherjee's second visit abroad after becoming the President. Last week, he visited Bangladesh.

In the Indian Ocean

Describing the Indian Ocean as a key arbiter of the subcontinent’s fortunes, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday described Mauritius as the proverbial Star and Key of the Indian Ocean.

He was addressing the state banquet hosted by Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius.

“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,” Pranab added.

The president, who will be the chief guest at the 45th anniversary of the independence of Mauritius on Tuesday, has lauded the efforts of the immigrants who helped build a strong nation.

“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,” Mukherjee said.

Faith in ideals

He said that both India and Mauritius have faith in the ideals of democracy and secularism and both nations 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.

The president also thanked Mauritius for its support for India’s rightful claim to permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.

“I am happy to convey warm greetings and good wishes of the people of India to the friendly people of the Republic of Mauritius. I am deeply touched by the warmth of the reception accorded to me by His Excellency Rajkeswur Purryag, President of Republic of Mauritius.

“My consultations with President Purryag have been frank and cordial. We reviewed cooperation between our governments and discussed regional and global issues of common interest.

“I look forward to working with him to strengthen and consolidate our partnerships for the mutual benefit, progress and prosperity of both our peoples,” the president wrote in the Visitors’ Book after the meeting the President of the Republic of Mauritius at the State House, Le Rduit here.

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