Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the new Supreme Court building of Mauritius via video conferencing. The project is one of five being implemented under a special economic package of $353 million extended to Mauritius by India in 2016. It is welcome that the new Mauritian Supreme Court building has been completed within schedule and below expected cost. For, there has long been a complaint among India’s development partners that New Delhi-funded projects are marred by inordinate delays. If India is to elevate ties with these countries, it has to ensure timely completion of development projects.
There is no denying that India today faces a tough strategic environment where China is pressing it on multiple fronts. If India is to successfully resist this, it has to become sharper in building ties with friendly nations and creating strategic depth for itself. This is precisely the objective behind India’s outreach to Indian Ocean Rim countries such as Mauritius. In fact, Modi has said that Mauritius is at the heart of India’s approach to the Indian Ocean region. But we cannot be complacent here as China with deeper pockets is always probing for opportunities to make inroads into India’s backyard.
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And if China is able to make IOR countries economically dependent on it, Beijing can then strategically encircle India. True, countries are now waking up to the risks of accepting China’s economic assistance. But eschewing Beijing would mean they still need a reliable development partner. And it is here that India must walk the talk on delivering quality, responsible and mutually beneficial projects in a timely manner. Retaining the advantage in the Indian Ocean region is absolutely imperative for India’s strategic security.