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Sushma Swaraj to visit Mauritius, Maldives over the weekend

PTI November 01, 2014 6:40 IST

New Delhi: Ahead of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's three-day visit to Mauritius from Saturday, India said amendments to the bilateral tax treaty with the island nation would be made only after taking into account the ‘legitimate interests' of both sides.

Swaraj will also be visiting Male and hold talks with her Maldivian counterpart Duniya Mamoon on November 3, on her way back from Mauritius, where she will meeting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade Arvin Boolell, apart from calling on Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam.

Terming India-Mauritius double taxation avoidance convention an important agreement between the two countries, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said both countries would ensure that their ‘legitimate interests' would be secured in any new agreement.

"Discussions on this are an ongoing issue and once these are ready and there is agreement between the two countries, we will then move to the next step of amending it. We have an agreed format in which all issues on this matter are being discussed. Given the nature of our close bilateral relations and ties, we are confident that we will take into account each other's concerns and interests while making any changes to it," the Spokesperson said.

A proposed revision of the tax treaty has been hanging fire for a long time amid differences between the two countries.

India has been seeking to make the agreement stronger to check any possible round tripping of Indian funds through the island nation.

Ramgoolam was the only global leader, outside the SAARC countries, who attended Modi's swearing-in ceremony as Prime Minister on May 26.

During his visit in May, Ramgoolam had said the island nation has decided to provide automatic exchange of tax- related information with India.

Mauritius has been one of the biggest sources of FDI into India, which attracted inflows of USD 77.77 billion FDI from that island nation between April 2000 and January 2014.

During her talks with Mamoon in Male, the two sides are expected to take up entire gamut of bilateral ties.

Swaraj's visit comes just days after the trip of Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakshe, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, here during which he met Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and discussed ways to expand the bilateral military relationship.