India approves OCI card for 7th gen Indian-origin Mauritians: President Murmu

In a goodwill gesture, India has approved a special provision to make 7th-generation Indian-origin Mauritians eligible for the Overseas Citizen of India card to reconnect them with the land of their ancestors, President Droupadi Murmu has announced.

In her address at the State Banquet hosted by Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth on Monday, President Murmu also announced that the Indian government will support the Government of Mauritius in the redevelopment of the sacred Ganga Talao complex into a religious, cultural and touristic hub.

This decision reflects the deep respect in India for our shared cultural values, Murmu, who is here on a state visit, said.

Ganga Talao is a crater lake situated in a secluded mountain area in the district of Savanne, deep in the heart of Mauritius. It is about 550 m (1,800 ft) above sea level. It is considered the most sacred Hindu place in Mauritius.

“I am confident that our cooperation in this project shall further deepen the strong people-to-people connect between our two countries,” she said.

“I have great pleasure in informing you all that my government has just approved a special provision under which Indian-origin Mauritians of the 7th generation will also be eligible for the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card. This will enable many younger Mauritians of Indian origin to become overseas citizens of India, and to reconnect with the land of their ancestors,” she said.

“In the last few weeks, our two Prime Ministers launched UPI and RuPay Card settlement systems in India and Mauritius; they also inaugurated a new Airstrip and a Jetty along with six community projects in Agalega. A new initiative to supply affordable, high-quality, Indian generic medicines to Mauritius was also announced. In the days ahead, we are looking at many new initiatives such as launching a jointly developed satellite for Mauritius and supplying 200 environment-friendly electric buses. In addition, the Rupee Vostro Account Facility will enable bilateral trade in our local currencies,” she said.

She said the impressive pace of progress in bilateral ties has been made possible due to the two governments according primacy to one another and ‘investing’ in the relationship.

“I extend my special appreciation to Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth ji, for his steadfast leadership and the commitment shown by his government to deepening this special partnership,” she said.

“As India proceeds on its Amrit Kaal journey towards becoming a developed country and a leading global power, we will continue to walk hand-in-hand with our close partners like Mauritius. India will continue to be a force for global peace and shared prosperity, in keeping with its foundational values of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam and Sarvajana Sukhina Bhavantu,” she said.

Murmu said she was truly delighted to participate as the Chief Guest of the 56th National Day celebrations of Mauritius being celebrated on Tuesday.

“Mauritius is one of the first few countries that I am visiting on a State Visit since assuming office as President. I had heard wonderful things about this beautiful country in the heart of the Indian Ocean; but having been here only for a few hours, I can see for myself why your country is called the “Paradise Island”. Today, Mauritius is truly a shining beacon of development, democracy, diversity and dynamism,” she said.

Murmu said she was profoundly inspired by the extraordinary triumph of the human spirit that Mauritius represents.

“I pay homage to your brave ancestors who came from India, especially the ‘girmitiya’ indentured labourers who built this country with their toil, sacrifice and fortitude in the face of the worst adversities. I salute your visionary leaders, who steered the destiny of the Mauritian economy into becoming a ‘Mauritian miracle’ that inspires not only Africa, but the entire world,” she said,

Girmitiyas, also known as Jahajis, were indentured labourers from British India transported to work on plantations in Fiji, South Africa, Eastern Africa (namely Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda), Malaysia, Singapore, and the Caribbean as part of the Indian indenture system.

In a short span of 56 years as an independent nation, Mauritius has emerged as a leading democracy, a beacon of pluralism, a prosperous economy, an International Financial Centre of repute, a thriving tourist destination, and most importantly, one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the world, the president said.

“We, in India, take great pride in your extraordinary achievements. We are happy to see the success of our Mauritian brothers and sisters because in many ways we have undertaken this journey of nation-building together. Our destinies were first intertwined when the first Indians landed here more than three centuries ago. We went on to inspire each other during our freedom struggles. And so, our ‘khoon ka rishta’ (blood relation) became a ‘dil ka rishta’ (bond of heart) ,” she said.

“It is no surprise, therefore, that the founding fathers of independent Mauritius chose 12th March to mark the most important day for their nation –the Independence Day of Mauritius – as a tribute to the Father of our Nation – Mahatma Gandhi,” she said.

“To this day, our two countries continue to stand shoulder to shoulder as independent nations, through good times and bad. Our relationship has grown stronger through the decades, whether it is securing the shared waters of the Indian Ocean together, or sharing our Covid vaccines during the pandemic; whether it is bolstering our capacities across sectors, connecting our economies and our people, or supporting one another in global platforms,” Murmu said.

The Metro project, the new ENT Hospital, the new Supreme Court building, the 8 MW Solar Power plant and the many other India-assisted development projects are visible symbols of India’s commitment to supporting the well-being of all Mauritians, she said.

“On the historic date of 12th March, when I attend your National Day as the Chief Guest, and as the Mauritian Flag is raised at Champs de Mars with the Indian Tricolour fluttering alongside, I will pray that our special ties continue to flourish in the times to come,” she said.

Published By:

Sahil Sinha

Published On:

Mar 12, 2024

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