Prez for improving India-Mauritius relations through education

Port Louis: President Pratibha Patil on Thursday advocated use of education as a tool to further improve bilateral relations between India and Mauritius, saying bridges of friendship should be strengthened for the future.

Addressing a function organised to confer Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa on her by the University of Mauritius, Patil said education is an important dimension in the bilateral relations between India and Mauritius and she would like to encourage greater co-operation in this field.

Patil said some Indian educational institutions, particularly from the private sector, are setting up branches in the island nation.

"With management and business institutions also coming in, the circle of quality institutes of engineering, medicine and management, all working hand in hand with their Mauritian counterparts, would auger well for the development of educational linkages between our two countries," she said.

The President said over 100 scholarships are given annually to Mauritian students to pursue studies in various streams in India and additionally, many more students enrol themselves into Indian Universities on a self-financing basis.

Patil said youth are the pillars of future development and she believe that the youth of the two countries must interact with each other, not only because of many commonalities that both countries have, but also because the bridges of friendship built must continue into the future with vigour, especially when India is emerging as a land of opportunity.

"I always say that along with education we must inculcate moral, social and human values in our youth, because education without values is like a flower without fragrance.

"I am pleased that there is a focus on gender empowerment in Mauritius, particularly in the educational sector. As the first woman President of India, this makes me feel happy and I am confident that this augurs well for your country," she said.

The President said gender equality and development provides an ideal platform for any country to grow and find its place with equality and dignity, in the comity of nations.

"A chariot moves on its two wheels. So also, men and women are the two wheels of the chariot of the nation. If one wheel is weak, movement will be slow. Women, who are the other wheel, must be made equally strong for the nation to progress in a smooth, rapid and balanced manner," she said.

Later, the President left for New Delhi after concluding of her five-day State Visit to Mauritius. She was seen off at the airport here by Mauritius Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and other dignitaries.