“Feels like homecoming”: Jaishankar to Indian diaspora in Mauritius


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday addressed the Indian diaspora in Mauritius, terming the community a shining example of India’s values such as peace, pluralism, shared progress and universal brotherhood.

Mr. Jaishankar, who arrived here in India’s strategically key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean region on Sunday night from the Maldives on the last leg of his two-nation tour, met the members of the Indian community during an event and thanked them for keeping the faith and fervour alive in Mauritius.

In a tweet, he said: “Feels like homecoming. Thank the vibrant Indian community for keeping our faith & fervour alive in Mauritius. A shining example of all that India stands for – peace, pluralism, shared progress & universal brotherhood – values more relevant than ever today.”

“I have travelled to many countries in my long career as a diplomat and more recent incarnation as the External Affairs Minister, but I must tell you that visiting Mauritius is always different, it feels actually like a homecoming.

“Every time I am here in your beautiful country, I realise how closely we are bound. To be amongst people like you, who continue to cherish and celebrate their Indian roots and traditions so vibrantly, this is actually a feeling which is very difficult to put in words,” he said.

Whether it is Maha Shivratri, or Kavadee Thaipoosam, or indeed Ganesh Chaturthi or Holi, the Indian community here keeps its faith and fervour alive, the minister said.

“Similarly, I can taste the flavours of India every time I visit, be it gateau piment or the Dal-puri. And I hear it in the Hindi news on Mauritian radio and TV and indeed in the melody of the geet-gawai; and I see it in the colourful saris, the clothes, the dance, the music, some of which we had the pleasure of just witnessing,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

Mauritius is probably the only country in the world where there are a thousand socio-cultural Indian organisations, he said.

“You serve as a vital umbilical cord that nourishes and keeps alive our shared cultural and historical legacy and passes them on to succeeding generations,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

India has been demonstrating that in action during these difficult times of COVID-19 by supplying vaccines to over 74 countries and by making a commitment to vaccinate all the UN Peacekeepers in the world, he said.

“As for Mauritius, which is one of our closest friends and partners, it is only natural that we would gift vaccines as soon as our own vaccination programme started at home.

“At the Mauritian government’s request, we also facilitated the arrival of 100,000 more vaccines. I want to give you a clear message, India has always stood by Mauritius through thick and thin; before, now and ever after,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

He said that India will, as always, support the enhancement of Mauritius’s own capacities in vital areas of maritime surveillance and security to address the challenges of an uncertain world. This unique trust with a half century record should inspire even greater confidence in future endeavours.

“What touches me very deeply every time I visit Mauritius is the pride that the Indian diaspora and Mauritians like you take in India’s growth and rise,” he said.

According to a latest report, more than 200 Indian-origin persons occupy top leadership positions in at least 15 countries of the world, he said.

“Though I must say Mauritius sets an example. Your invaluable contribution to our nation-building; your role as a ‘living bridge’ between India and your countries of domicile and the laudable reputations you have earned by the dint of your hard work, competence and assimilation; have all helped fly the Indian flag higher in different parts of the world.

“I thank you today on behalf of all Indians, for your outstanding contribution to Mother India. I invite you and all the socio-cultural organisations and businesses present here, and those to whom you would communicate this message, to reach out to us with any ideas, proposals, suggestions, feedback that you may have, to help us advance further on this shared path,” the minister said.

Like India, Mauritius is a shining example of how a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multi-religious country can not only become a vibrant and successful democracy, but also have a thriving, high-performing economy, he said.

Indian-origin people constitute nearly 70% of the population of Mauritius. Their ancestors were sent there as indentured labourers during British rule.

India on Monday signed a landmark Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) with Mauritius, the first of its kind with an African nation, making the strategically-located country a launch-pad for business expansion into the huge African continent.

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