What is India-Mauritius Joint Trade Committee - UPSC Current Affairs

India-Mauritius Joint Trade Committee

Today’s edition of our Current Affairs will comprise a discussion on  India-Mauritius Joint Trade Committee. Read further to upgrade your UPSC CSE knowledge and also understand the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.

For Prelims:  Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership agreement

For Mains: India and Extended Neighborhood, India Mauritius Relations

Probable Question

Write a brief note on India-Mauritius relations. Also throw some light on opportunities and challenges to be addressed for further strengthening of ties between the two countries.

Context

 Recently, India hosted the 1st session of the India-Mauritius High-Powered Joint Trade Committee.

About The High-Powered Joint Trade Committee

  • The High-Powered Joint Trade Committee had been constituted as per the mandate of the India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership agreement (CECPA).
  • Its work is to review the general functioning and implementation of the India-Mauritius CECPA which entered into force on 1st April, 2021. 

About CECPA  

  • The CECPA is the first trade Agreement signed by India with a country in Africa.
  • This Agreement will cover Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Financial services, Customs Procedures and Cooperation in other Areas.
  • It covers 310 export items for India  including foodstuff and beverages, agricultural products, textile and textile articles and so on.
  • Mauritius will benefit from preferential market access into India for its 615 products including frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, beer, alcoholic drinks, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment,and apparel.

Read yesterday’s edition of current affairs on CBDC, the ‘Digital Rupee’ that RBI Could Introduce this Year, in case you missed reading it.

Result of the Session

  • Both sides agreed to enhance bilateral collaboration to further increase bilateral trade.
  • Both sides realize the true potential of the bilateral relationship especially under the CECPA.
  • Both sides agreed to the inclusion of the General Economic Cooperation (GEC) Chapter and Automatic Trigger Safeguard Mechanism (ATSM) in CECPA.
  • The GEC chapter will enable enhancement of export competitiveness and enlarging the existing scope for collaboration.
  • Collaboration in the fields of Investments, Financial Services, Textile, Small and Medium Enterprises, Handicrafts, Gems and Jewelry, Information and Communication Technology, Film Production, Space Technology, Blue Economy, Port Infrastructure, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals & Bio-technology, Competition Policy, Renewable Energy etc.
  • Extensive interactions were held between both sides in the Services sector with regard to establishing equivalence in certification, skills and licensing requirements of various professional bodies. 
  • The Mauritian side, while conveying the shortage of professionals in Mauritius in various sectors such as ICT, Financial Services, Film production etc., welcomed movement of high skilled professionals from India to Mauritius.

Also Read: How to prepare International relations for UPSC?

India-Mauritius Relations

  • Diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius were established in 1948. 
  • Defense and Security: 
    • India extended a USD 100 million Line of Credit to Mauritius to facilitate the procurement of Indian defense equipment, as the two countries signed a landmark Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Partnership Agreement.
    • The two sides also signed an agreement which will provide for a Dornier aircraft and an Advanced Light Helicopter Dhruv on lease to Mauritius on gratis basis for two years.
  • Maritime Security and Indian Ocean 
    • Two-thirds of the world’s oil shipments, one-third of its bulk cargo, and half of its container traffic  transit through the Indian Ocean.
    • The Mauritius-India cooperation is significant to make the Indian Ocean safe, secure and free from any challenge. 
    • Mauritius is one of India’s key maritime neighbors in the Indian Ocean Region and occupies a special place in the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth for All in the Region).
  • Developmental Projects:
    • India Completed all five development projects announced by her in 2017 under the Special Economic Package. 
    • These include phase I of the Metro Express project, the new Supreme Court building, the new ENT hospital, the supply of electronic tablets for Mauritian school children and 956 Social Housing Units.
    • The Civil Service College project which is located in Reduit, is being financed through a grant support of US$ 4.74 million, under an MoU signed in 2017.
    • The 8 MW Solar PV Farm project involves the installation of 25,000 PV cells to generate approximately 14 GWh of green energy annually.
  • Trade Relation: 
    • Growth of the bilateral merchandise trade between India and Mauritius, rose to USD 786.72 million in 2021-22 from USD 690.02 million in 2019-20.
    • A watershed free trade pact, the ‘Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement’ (CECPA) was signed between India and Mauritius. It will have a tremendous economic impact, as it will cut or eliminate duties on the majority of goods as well as liberalize norms to promote services trade.
  • Aid and Assistance
    • ​​Apart from the vaccines, India supplied 23 tonnes of essential medicines, half a million tablets of hydroxychloroquine, as well as a consignment of Ayurvedic medicines. 
    • A 14-member Medical Assistance Team, under the Indian Navy’s ‘Mission SAGAR’ initiative, also visited the country.

China Factor 

  • In recent years, several external powers, including China, have made increasing inroads in Africa and its Indian Ocean littorals. Mauritius has not been immune from this trend. 
  • In January 2021, China’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Mauritius came into effect. This agreement will help China expand the Belt and Road strategy in Africa. 
  • China’s increasing presence in the region will pose difficult questions for countries like India.

While India and Mauritius share cultural contiguity dating back to colonial times and a special partnership in recent years, India cannot take its influence in Mauritius for granted and should continue to enhance its engagement with this important island country.

News Source: PIB 

Source 1: PIB 1: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1848300

Source 2: PIB 2: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1708794

Source 3: MEA: https://www.mea.gov.in/press-releases.htm?dtl/34764/Prime+Minister+Narendra+Modi+and+Prime+Minister+of+Mauritius+Pravind+Jugnauth+jointly+inaugurate+and+launch+India+assisted+development+projects+in+Mauritius

Source 4: India-Mauritius Development partnership   https://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-extends-100-mn-line-of-credit-to-mauritius-for-defence-equipment-7200154/

Also watch a related video on Indian Foreign Policies post 1990 – International Relations by M Puri Sir:

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