New Delhi: India on Monday entered into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) with Mauritius enabling Indian investors to use the archipelago as a launch-pad for business expansion into continental Africa.
The CECPA is India’s first-such Agreement with an African country will also help Mauritius emerge as a ‘hub of Africa’.
India also extended a USD 100 million line credit to fund purchases of defence equipment from India.
“Today is indeed a special day in our special relationship,” said External affairs minister S Jaishankar, announcing the agreements in Port Louis after meeting Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and Foreign Minister Alan Ganoo.
The CECPA, which was signed by Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan and Mauritius Foreign Secretary Haymandoyal Dillum, provides preferential access to Mauritius for bulk of the trade and also for many aspirational items for the future into the Indian market of over a billion people.
These include frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment, and apparel.
The current global imports of India on these products is well over USD15 billion. This is therefore a significant opportunity for Mauritius to benefit from access to the Indian market.
Just to illustrate some of the benefits, Mauritius will get preferential access for export of 40,000 tonnes of sugar into India at an early time frame.
Similarly, there will also be access for the export of 7.5 million pieces of apparel.
As regards trade in services, India has offered 95 sub-sectors from 11 broad services sectors.
Services contribute some 76 per cent of the GDP of Mauritius, and CECPA will surely boost the dynamism of the services sector in Mauritius, said Jaishankar.
The CECPA could also facilitate Indian investment in the Services sector in Mauritius, especially in the ICT sector as Indian companies could benefit by leveraging the bilingual prowess of Mauritius for investments in Francophone Africa.
“I am also happy today to see that the agreement which will be providing for a Dornier aircraft and an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv on lease to Mauritius on gratis basis for 2 years, helping shore up its capabilities to patrol and monitor its extensive maritime domain more effectively.
A special US$ 100 mn Defence Line of Credit has also been signed today which will enable the procurement of defence assets from India as per the needs of the Mauritius government,” said Jaishankar.
These initiatives, he said, underlined once again that the “security of Mauritius is the security of India; in the prosperity of Mauritius is our prosperity.”
The EAM also reiterated India’s support to Mauritius on its effort to retrieve the Chagos islands from Britain.
Prime Minister Jugnauth said Mauritius values its defence cooperation with India, including in capacity-building, coastal surveillance, and deterrence to piracy and illegal fishing.
Three other agreements covered the setting up of a renal transplant unit at the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital with Indian support, creating an 8-MW solar farm to help Mauritius achieve its target of generating 35 per cent of total energy from renewable sources by 2025, and cooperation on consumer protection.
Jaishankar handed over 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines commercially procured by Mauritius, which had received another 100,000 doses as a grant last month.