India and Mauritius, which currently share surveillance information and military training, plan to step up their defense ties to include the supply of weaponry and equipment.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed here Oct. 25, the Indian Navy will assist Mauritius in updating its charts and navigation data.
An Indian Navy official said that the reworking of survey charts would lead to safer navigation and better management of the Mauritian Exclusive Economic Zone. To begin with, an Indian Navy survey ship will be deployed in an area to be identified by the Mauritian government in January.
Visiting Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Chandra Ramgoolam and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signed the Oct. 25 agreement on the hydrographic work to be undertaken by India’s Navy.
Mauritius also has expressed interest in acquiring the Indian-made Advanced Light Helicopter and buying fast boats from Indian shipyards.
A senior Indian Defence Ministry official said Mauritius also is buying an unspecified number of Dornier aircraft built by India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. for maritime surveillance. Mauritius also is negotiating the purchase of Indian Offshore Patrol Vessels.
Over the years, India has provided the Indian Ocean archipelago nation with expertise and hardware to develop Mauritius’ security capability. New Delhi gave Mauritius a patrol craft in the 1970s. A number of Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force personnel are attached to the Mauritius Coast Guard.