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President Kovind to visit Mauritius, Madagascar

IANS  |  New Delhi 

In tune with India's increasing focus on the region, will embark on a five-day visit to the island nations of and from March 11, it was announced on Friday.

While he will visit from March 11 to 14, he will be in on March 14-15.

Briefing the media here, Sanjay Panda, (Region) in the External Affairs Ministry, said Kovind will attend the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of independence of

He said the diaspora linkage is a very important part of bilateral ties with Mauritius which is home to a large number of ethnic Indians -- mostly descendants of indentured labour taken from to work in the sugarcane plantations there.

Panda said there has been qualitative improvement of India's ties with Mauritius in recent times after Narendra Modi's visit to that country in 2015 set the ball rolling.

In the last two years, and Mauritius have signed a double taxation avoidance agreement and New Delhi $353-million economic package.

Panda said that four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are expected to be signed between the two countries during Kovind's visit.

The will meet the leadership of the island nation and also interact with the Indian diaspora.

He will inaugurate the Hindi Secretariat that has built with India's assistance.

The visit to will be the first ever by an VVIP since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1954.

Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the and is nearly the size of

According to Neena Malhotra, (East and South Africa) in the External Affairs Ministry, the island nation off the coast of is rich in natural resources and is the world's largest of sapphires.

She said that Kovind will hold talks with his Malagasy counterpart

Malhotra said that India is keen to expand naval and maritime cooperation with Madagascar and India has expanded lines of credit in the past.

There is 15,000 to 20,000-strong Indian community in that country and Kovind will meet their representatives.

This is the second foreign visit Kovind is undertaking after assuming office last year. In October 2017, he visited and

Ashok Malik, to the President, said it was no coincidence that both times Kovind has gone to and reflected the importance India was attaching to the region.

The will be accompanied by for Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Choubey and four Members of Parliament during the visit.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 21:42 IST