He expressed India's support for the Indentured Labour Route Project taken up by Mauritius

The unique bilateral relationship between India and Mauritius draws strength from the bonds shared by the people of both the countries, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has said.

Addressing the first Ministerial meeting on Indentured Labour Route Project (ILRP) organized by the Government of Mauritius on Friday, he described it as "a unique project that connects countries with shared histories and shared experience of the indentured labour system".

During his address, Muraleedharan also referred to the shared and unflinching commitment of both the countries towards democratic and pluralistic ideals.

The Minister noted that the indentured labour system brought people from across the seas to work on plantations during a previous era, when we were not our own political masters.

"However, an unintended benefit accrued, and because of this system, we now have diasporic ties that we value and cherish and we seek to strengthen and celebrate, as bonds that link us today," he said.

This project is a great initiative not only for creation of database, but also for fostering ties among nations and to develop clear understanding of the unique history that all of us have undergone. "We are tied together by bonds of human relations, by bonds of the very things which define human identity, i.e. culture, language and religion," he said.

According to Muraleedharan, a consolidated database of indentured labour flows that this project purports to develop, when achieved would be a great asset for historical reasons, for knowledge generation on the subject and for diaspora engagement.

"We believe that the initiative of the government of Mauritius has enormous potential to unlock hitherto unexplored treasure of knowledge and historical data and will spur further studies and research in fields of history, cultural studies, linguistics, sociology, anthropology and archaeology," he noted.

The Minister said India would be happy to participate and extend its wholehearted support to Mauritius for carrying this project forward, given that this historical movement began from India.

"We look forward to working closely with the government of Mauritius and other countries to make this initiative successful," he said.

Muraleedharan used the occasion to highlight India's endeavors to forge strong ties with its diaspora present across the globe.

"Our diaspora is present across 140+ countries and we are proud of their achievements and contributions to their new homes. We provide 24x7 support to Indian nationals abroad in terms of consular support and welfare and also during critical times, including pandemics such as this," he said.

The initiatives to strengthen ties with young members of the Indian diaspora include the Know in India Programme and Bharat Ko Janiye Quiz (Know India Quiz).

He added that elderly persons of Indian origin were engaged through a other schene, the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana.

These were in addition to the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) which the Indian government has been organising since 2003 to celebrate, engage and appreciate the Indian diaspora. "We have been honoured by the participation of leaders from Mauritius," the Minister of State said.