A signing ceremony for the declaration of intent with regards to maritime defence between the Government of France and Government of Mauritius was held on Friday 09 November 2018 at the Treasury Building, Port Louis. The signatories were the French Ambassador to Mauritius, Mr Emmanuel Cohet, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Rodrigues, Mr Medha Gunputh.
The objective of the declaration is to strengthen the bilateral defence relationship at the operational level by further developing the bilateral exchange between the respective forces, including technical and operational instructions issued by the Armed Forces of the Southern Zone of the Indian Ocean (AFSZIO)
It also aims to provide continuous support to Mauritian officers as regards training in French schools and through the network of the National Regionally Based Vocational Schools.
The declaration will further strengthen existing cooperation in the naval sector through the conduct of mutual training as well as technical dock and sea training between the French Navy and the Mauritian National Coast Guard (NCG). It will also take on board support training of crew members and officers of the NCG through the naval school of TICA.
The agreement will furthermore look into the possibility of conducting a wide bilateral exercise in Mauritius during the second semester of 2019 and implementing a joint armed force of Franco-Mauritians in addition to the Mauritian participation in the major annual exercise of the AFSZIO for the benefit of the countries of the Indian Ocean Commission.
The Franco-Mauritian defence relationship
In the face of multiple threats, the southwest of the Indian Ocean is facing new security challenges and hence, national strategies for defence must be adjusted, and cooperation between States strengthened, particularly in the maritime field.
The Franco-Mauritian relationship, which is mostly based on the actions of the AFSZIO, aims to increase the Mauritian capacities in identified areas such as the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism.
The bilateral cooperation is also based on the numerous exchanges between the French units (2nd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, buildings of the French Navy, aircrafts of the Air force) and Mauritian departments such as the Special Mobile Force, NCG, Helicopter Police Squadron and through instructions in different specific fields such as explosive ordinance proposal, the visit of ships at sea, and operational techniques. Mauritian forces also participate in the yearly exercise organised by the AFSZIO for the benefit of all the countries of the Indian Ocean Commission, of which the last edition, “Papangue 2018” took place last April.
Source: Government of Mauritius