As Mauritius prepares to usher in the 50th anniversary of its Independence, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind is here as chief guest for today’s celebrations, reaffirming the strong bilateral ties between the two countries. The celebrations will start with the official flag hoisting ceremony at Champs de Mar racecourse in Port Louis followed by cultural events. Kovind will also be inaugurating the World Hindi Secretariat here on March 13.
Speaking exclusively to Indian media, Mauritius tourism minister, Anil Kumarsingh Gayan said, “Our association with India goes back to pre Independence days and has strengthened over time. And today we are seeing the blossoming of the ties. As we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our Independence, we had a magnificent helicopter display by the Indian Airforce. This is something that happens every year. The Indian military is always present on our Independence day. But this year is special. The Indian President is here today.”
Commenting on tourism between the two nations, Gayan said, “I wish we had more Indian tourists coming to Mauritius. We plan to increase Air Mauritius flights from Mumbai from the current four to daily. The airline also flies from Delhi twice a week and operates a hopping flight from Chennai and Bengaluru as well. But nothing beats a direct flight. So we want Indian airlines like Air India and Jet Airways to fly to Mauritius. We want them to know that we are open to business and we would love them to fly to Mauritius.” He added, India is a big country and the airlines may want to tap the domestic potential, but a time will come when they will want to explore farther destinations. And I am sure with the increased cooperation between India and Mauritius in developing a new airstrip on the Agalega islet in the Indian Ocean, which will be used by the Indian military, there are exciting possibilities.”
He also spoke about Mauritius as a tourist destination. “We have excellent facilities in terms of accommodation, infrastructure and activities. We have a temperate climate and when India has monsoons, we have winter here with temperatures of 15-16 degrees. So this is something we can work on to bring Indian tourists here. But over and above that we have lots of other things that makes us close to India. Like the festivals, recently we celebrated the Mahashivratri for 4 to 5 days. We are a multi cultural country, a peace loving people and we want more people to experience it, ” Gayan stated.