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Krishna leaves for Mauritius, Mozambique

New Delhi, July 2 (Calcutta Tube) Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Friday left on a five-day visit to Mauritius and Mozambique to deepen strategic and economic ties with these strategically located countries.

This is Krishna’s first official visit to the African continent since he became foreign minister over a year ago.

Krishna will hold talks with his Mauritian counterpart Arvin Boolell in Port Louis on a wide swathe of issues ranging from economic ties to culture and defence.

Mauritius, home to a large Indian diaspora, is a top source of capital flow into India. India was the second largest investor in Mauritius after Britain in 2008. FDI flows into India through the Mauritius route have accounted for $47.24 billion investment.

The two sides will hold talks on renegotiation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAA), which is suspected of being misused by some investors to route their investment through the low-tax island nation, resulting in huge revenue loss.

Krishna will focus on expanding India’s strategic dialogue with the Indian Ocean country.

Krishna will head to Maputo Sunday, the first bilateral visit by an Indian foreign minister to Mozambique in decades. The last two visits by the Indian foreign ministers to Maputo in 1979 and 1999 were in the context of multilateral conferences.

During his talks with the leaders of Mozambique, Krishna is likely to discuss steps for intensification of economic and strategic ties with one of the better performing economies in the region.

A former Portuguese colony, Mozambique has attracted foreign investment in mining sector. The country is also estimated to have untapped oil and gas reserves.

Titanium mining is a growing source of revenue. India’s Coal India Ltd recently acquired two coal blocks in Mozambique. India is one of top five trading partners of Mozambique.

The two countries will aim to build on a bilateral security cooperation agreement they signed in 2005 to expand their security and counter-terror cooperation.

On his way back to India, Krishna will make a brief stopover in Seychelles.

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