27 May 2016

Rajiv Servansingh: Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi

We are taking the liberty of writing this open letter to you although we are acutely aware that you must be extremely busy and preoccupied with the immensity of the task of governing the Republic of India at this most critical time of its history. Your frequent travels to foreign nations as indeed your first diplomatic initiatives for your inauguration as Prime Minister have been a clear indication of your concern to re-establish your country in its right and appropriate place in the new and shifting global order. India is today the fastest growing among the economic giants of the planet.

Reassured by the regular pronouncements of several Indian leaders over the decades about the ‘special relationship’ between our two nations, we have developed - rather naively it turns out - a false sense of security based on the oft-repeated commitment that India would never undertake any action which would somehow hurt the interests of Mauritius. Maybe we should have been wiser and paid heed to the dictum that in the international power game there are indeed no permanent friends but only permanent interests...
The Mauritius-India ‘special relationship’ is so embedded in our history that even the British colonial authorities could not fail to reckon with it. When the colonial government in India imposed an import duty on sugar in 1895, the then Governor of Mauritius, Hubert EH Jerningham wrote the following to the Secretary of State for the Colonies on 24th November 1896: “ … call your attention to the fact that 250,000 Indians who are labourers... are entirely dependent upon that industry… whether India might not be approached with a view to at least giving other British dependencies, and especially a Colony like this which provides a means of existence to so large an Indian population, the benefit of an exemption.” O tempora! O mores! Oh the times! Oh the customs!...
Mauritius Times

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