In a bid to ramp up bilateral cooperation on maritime security, India and Mauritius on Saturday signed a maritime security agreement after extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the visiting Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth. In a statement, Modi said he and Jugnauth agreed that effective management of conventional and non-conventional threats in the Indian Ocean is essential to pursue economic opportunities and provide security to the people of both the countries.
“We have to keep up our vigil against piracy that impacts trade and tourism, trafficking of drugs and humans, illegal fishing, and other forms of illegal exploitation of marine resources,” he said. The bilateral maritime pact is expected to strengthen cooperation and capacities, he said, noting that the two sides also agreed to strengthen wide-ranging cooperation in hydrography for a secure and peaceful maritime domain.
Jugnauth said the two countries need to ensure that the sea lanes of communications are secure and regular patrolling is conducted to combat illegal activities such as piracy, illegal fishing in territorial waters and drug trafficking. India also announced a $500 million line of credit to Mauritius.
A decision to extend the operational life of Coast Guard ship Guardian, that was given by India to Mauritius under a grant assistance programme, was also taken. During his visit to Mauritius in March 2015, Modi had commissioned offshore patrol vessel Barracuda, built and financed by India, into the Mauritian Coast Guard. Holding that Mauritius has “strong” defence and security ties with India, the visiting PM said the acquisition of such OPVs and fast interceptor boats from India has enhanced the operational capacities of its police and coast guard.