Port Louis: In an unprecedented gesture, the government of Mauritius will fly both the Mauritian and Indian national flags at half mast on Friday in honour of former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
“Following the passing away of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the government has decided that both the Mauritius and India flags will remain at half mast from sunrise to sunset on Friday,” a directive issued by the office of Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said.
“An appeal is also being made to the private sector for ll flags to be flown at half mast during the same period,” it said.
Vajpayee passed away in Delhi on Thursday at the age of 93 after prolonged illness.
Around 68 per cent of Mauritius’s population of nearly 1.3 million are of Indian descent. Many are descendants of Indian indentured labour brought to work on sugarcane plantations on the Indian Ocean island nation in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
In a condolence message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jugnauth said that Vajpayee “shaped the destiny of India through his bold leadership and his deep-rooted empathy for the common man”.
“Today, as India shines as a beacon of progress and development on the global stage, we cannot forget the strong and able stewardship of Vajpayee,” Jugnauth stated.
“His was a leadership characterised by determination, perseverance, fairness and equity.”
Jugnauth also recalled Vajpayee’s deep affection for Mauritius and its people and said that we were honoured to receive him in March 2000 as chief guest at the National Day celebrations and whenever he visited Mauritius.
“Mauritius mourns the loss of a man who stood not only for India but also for Mauritius,” he said.