India to mark Mauritius indentured labourers anniversary

Indian Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will participate in the commemoration of the 189th anniversary of the arrival of indentured labourers in Mauritius on November 2.

Muraleedharan will visit the island country from November 1 to 2, an external affairs ministry statement read.

Mauritius is a former British and French colony that gained independence from British rule in 1968. Under French rule in the 18th century, the first Indians were brought to Mauritius from the Puducherry region to work as artisans and masons.

Under British rule, about half a million Indian indentured workers were brought to Mauritius between 1834 and the early 1900's. About two-thirds of these workers permanently settled down in Mauritius. The first batch of these workers, comprising 36 persons, arrived in Mauritius on November 2, 1834. This day is now observed in Mauritius as 'Aapravasi Diwas'.

Meanwhile, during his visit, the Muraleedharan will hold meetings with the Mauritian leadership and inaugurate two development projects - the 8 MW Solar Power Plant at Henrietta and a Sports Complex constructed with Indian Grant assistance.

"MoS will oversee the signing of an MOU for the joint development and launch of a satellite for Earth Observation-based applications for Mauritius," the MEA said.

Furthermore, a joint commemorative postage stamp will also be released to mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius.

Mauritius is India's key maritime neighbour in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and occupies a special place in Prime Minister Modi's vision of 'SAGAR' (Security and Growth for All in the Region).

"This visit is expected to further solidify the common cultural and historical legacy of the two countries, which forms the foundation of the special partnership between India and Mauritius," the MEA said.

Last month, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who addressed the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York met with Mauritius President Prithvirajsingh Roopun after his speech.

India has close, longstanding relations with the island nation in the Western Indian Ocean, owing to historical, demographic and cultural reasons. A key reason for the special ties is the fact that Indian-origin people comprise nearly 70 per cent of the island's population of 1.2 million.


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