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February 22, 2021: Briefings on South Asia

1) Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar Arrives in Mauritius Amid Unrest

· Jaishankar's diplomatic trip seeks to advance trade and investment agreements with the island nation. However, plagued by unrest, opposition parties and civil society groups have called for PM Pravind Jugnauth's government to resign.

· Foreign Minister of Mauritius, Nandcoomar Bodha, has resigned in protest. He asserted that the government is unable to carry out its duties and calls for fundamental changes.

· In terms of security, Bodha said India has a salient role in mediation. He believes that India could be instrumental in bringing the UK, US, and Mauritius together for a solution.

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2) Maldives to get $50m in Defense Support

· As Jaishankar wrapped up his diplomatic visit, India and Maldives signed a $50 million Line of Credit to fund defense projects in the island nation.

· India will assist in developing Hanimaadhoo and Addu Gan airports, which are financed under an $800 million Line of Credit to make the Maldives more accessible to tourists.

· India publicly reiterated its support for the Maldives FM candidature for president of the 76th session of the UN general assembly.

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3) India may Turn to Iran, Venezuela for Oil Imports

· Domestic fuel prices have spiked because of rising energy demand after the rapid recovery of major economies from the impact of Covid-19, but the oil cartel continues to restrict supply, a primary concern for New Delhi.

· According to energy expert SC Sharma, restricted supplies and production cuts by oil-exporting countries are the reason for high oil prices.

· The initiative would solve India's scarcity crisis and boost its exports to Tehran.

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