India and Mauritius have narrowed down their differences on matters related to the three-decade-old Double Tax Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and all contentious issues will be resolved in the next meeting of the Joint Working Group in April.
"Two round of meetings of the JWG have already taken place and the third round of the JWG will take place soon. We have narrowed down the areas of divergence. The next meeting has been fixed for sometime in April to resolve issues which will be beneficial and acceptable to both sides," President Pranab Mukherjee told reporters accompanying him on his return from a three-day state visit to Mauritius.
Asked whether there was any common ground on DTAA, he said unless those issues are resolved, one has to wait.
"We shall have to wait. But what I feel that there has been some progress and it may be possible to resolve the issues which will be mutually acceptable to both sides in the third round," he said.
According to Mukherjee, India has initially provided credit lines to the tune of USD 100 million and that has been utilised.
"Now we have provided USD 250 million lines of credit and USD 20 million as grant and I have suggested that you utilise this then we will grant some more fresh lines of credit." Asked about reported Chinese interest in Mauritius and Indian Ocean region, he said he would not like to comment on relations between the two countries since each was sovereign and free to decide its relations with any country considering its own national interests and geo-political situation.
"China is showing lots of interest in Africa and they are providing assistance. Naturally they may show interest in Mauritius. But during my talks with the leaders of Mauritius, I have assured them that whatever possible, India will provide and will try to help them in areas of investment, expanding trade and also... specially in areas of trade, education and health care, telecommunication," Mukherjee said.
"I have identified nine subjects where we can have good equation and good relations with Mauritius," he said.
Specially asked whether he had any discussion on China, the President said, "No question... When we have bilateral discussions -- unless we have urgent and contemporary issues, there is no question of discussions about other countries." Referring to his visit to Mauritius where he attended that country's national day celebrations as chief guest, he said he was convinced that both the countries can further build on the existing multi-faceted mutually beneficial relationship.
"I am convinced that India should do its utmost to support Mauritius in every way possible and that we should strive to take this relationship to greater and greater heights," he said.