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India to cooperate with Mauritius to safeguard Indian Ocean


PORT LIOUS (PTI): The Indian Navy is committed to ensuring the safety and security of the strategically vital Indian Ocean region in cooperation with the coast guards of Mauritius, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said.

"Maritime security is of vital significance for an island nation like Mauritius as well as for a country with a vast coastline like India," Swaraj said in her speech here.

"A large part of our trade passes through the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean. Safety and security of the sea-lanes is thus indispensable for our territorial, economic and energy security," she added.

"The Indian Navy is committed to ensuring the safety and security of these sea-lanes in cooperation with the National Coast Guard of Mauritius," she said.

Swaraj is on a three-day visit to the Indian Ocean nation, to celebrate 'Apravasi Divas', marking 180 years since the first Indian indentured labourers arrived in Mauritius.

Three ships from the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy namely, INS Mumbai, INS Deepak and INS Talwar were also docked in Mauritian waters on Sunday to enhance and deepen security ties.

"These ships have been deployed to Mauritius with a view to qualitatively enhancing our long standing and multi-faceted cooperation in ensuring peace, stability and maritime security in the Indian Ocean region," Swaraj said.

"This will go a long way in further strengthening our deep-rooted cooperation and that our friendship, including in defence sector, will grow from strength to strength in times to come," she added.

Earlier in the day Swaraj met Mauritian President Rajkeswur Purryag and Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and discussed bilateral and regional issues of common interest.

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