Monday, March 12, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Overthrow of elected govts
Mauritius asks India to launch movement
L.H. Naqvi
Tribune News Service

Port Louis, March 11
Mauritius has taken the initiative of launching a unique political movement for the protection of democratically elected governments in countries that have a large Indian presence.

The Speaker of the Mauritian Parliament, Mr Prem Ramnah, today called on President K. R. Narayanan and shared with him the Mauritian leadership’s sense of dismay over the turn of events in Fiji. He informed Mr Narayanan that Mauritius was keen to involve India in the project for protecting democratically elected governments.

The Mauritian Speaker will shortly lead a delegation to India for launching what is being called the International Forum of Parliamentarians of Indian Origin. Contact has already been established with at least 300 members in Canada, the USA, England, the West Indies group of nations and, of course, Fiji for mobilising public opinion against the overthrow of democratically elected governments.

Meanwhile, President Narayanan today visited the Aapravasi Ghat (expatriates port) through which the first Indians were brought to Mauritius as indentured labour. He described the monument as a symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over the forces of oppression. Keeping in mind the emotional importance of the ghat to the two countries the Mauritian Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, during his meeting with Mr Narayanan said his government had taken the decision to seek the assistance of UNESCO for converting Aapravasi Ghat into a heritage site.

The Mauritian media continued to give top billing to Mr Narayanan’s four-day State visit. Special mention was made of the amazing response of the ordinary people in mobilising funds and relief material for the victims of the devastating earthquake in Gujarat. The President, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition appeared live on television to appeal to the people for raising funds for the earthquake victims in India. And to demonstrate that it was not essentially an initiative of the people of Indian origin the responsibility of heading the Gujarat relief effort was given to Deputy Prime Minister Paul Berenger. Yesterday he presented a cheque for $ 1 million to President Narayanan. Most of the money came from ordinary people, housewives and school children. Mr Narayanan was so touched by the initiative that he departed from the prepared text to express his gratitude to the people of Mauritius for raising funds for the sufferers of the Gujarat earthquake.

Among the politically important issues, which came up for discussion with Mr Narayanan and other senior members of the presidential party, was India’s claim to permanent membership in the UN Security Council and Mauritius’ claim over Die go Garcia. Mr Jugnauth assured Mr Narayanan that his country would support India’s case for full membership of the Security Council.

The Mauritian Prime Minister also shared with President Narayanan his country’s case for the return of Diego Garcia. Since the Cold War factor for justifying its illegal occupation by the USA was no longer relevant Mauritius would shortly launch a fresh initiative for seeking its return after having the case examined by legal experts.

Mr Narayanan’s four-day State visit will come to an end tomorrow after he attends Mauritius’ Independence Day celebrations as the chief guest.

Later speaking at a banquet hosted in his honour by Mauritian President Cassam Uteem at State House, Rashtrapati Nivas of the country, Mr Narayanan complimented the island nation for becoming a member of the United Nations Security Council and the role it was playing as a member of the Southern African Development Community and the Indian Ocean Commission.

The President placed on record India’s commitment to the restoration of Mauritian sovereignty “over your own soil in the Chagos Archipelago”. While reminding his host about the collective role the two countries had played in moulding global opinion in favour of reduction of conflict and promotion of peace, he said: “It is important that, for a better tomorrow, interaction among nations be based on the coexistence not conflict, cooperation not confrontation, concord not coercion”.

President Narayanan also referred to importance of what can be called the “Indian element” which has had a positive impact on the promotion of bilateral ties. Of course, the heritage and the element of “unity in diversity” in the case of Mauritius had been influenced by traditions and culture of three continents — Africa, Asia and Europe.

Mr Narayanan inspected a guard of honour.


Journey back home to Chhota Bharat

Port Louis, March 11
The local media today aptly summed up the response of the people of Mauritius to the four-day State visit by President K. R. Narayanan through imaginative and descriptive headlines. One newspaper hailed the visit as a journey back home to Chhota Bharat.

Of course, it was Indira Gandhi who coined the term when she came to Mauritius in 1982. She described it as a “great little country” and in very many respects and amazingly successful as “Chhota Bharat”.

The general mood of warmth and friendship was reflected in the formal ceremonies that the President and his delegation attended as also in the informal interaction on the future of Indo-Mauritian ties.

Among the important decisions taken by the officials of the two countries was to promote the learning of Hindi as also some regional Indian languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Urdu, in Mauritius. India has agreed to provide 500 copies of the specially packaged software programmed for facilitating the learning of important Indian languages.

According to current indications the President of Mauritius, Mr Cassam Uteem, is likely to seek greater economic cooperation from India in key sectors like information technology and balanced industrial development. Mauritius is keen to lay greater emphasis on diversifying its economic base that is currently dependent on sugarcane production and tourism.

During official discussions the response of the Indian delegation to the request for establishing a university of technology on the lines of the hugely successful Indian Institutes of Technology was positive.

A three-track approach involving government-to-government initiatives, government and private sector cooperation and private sector involvement for helping Mauritius realize the objective of creating a cyber island was also finalised. L.H.N.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |