This Letter to the Editor by Rajiv Singh was published in Weekly No. 306 of 12 July 2018.

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India’s securities market regulator, SEBI, has apparently made an offer to the custodians in India – that they could not refuse – to place Mauritius as a high risk jurisdiction.

A list which identifies Mauritius as a high risk jurisdiction among 25 other countries has been formalised by five global custodians in India –Deutsche Bank, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and JP Morgan. Yet, three of these have been licensed and regulated by the Bank of Mauritius. Singapore, which is considered as the biggest competitor of Mauritius in this sphere, is not on the list. Neither are Switzerland – a country which has been making the headlines in India for many years – or Hong Kong – a jurisdiction from which companies were used in collusion with some of their Indian counterparts to perpetrate unprecedented foreign exchange fraud against banks in India.

Experts in the financial sector believe that the recent changes to the Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty brought about by relentless pressure from India and now the classification of Mauritius as High Risk will have catastrophic effects on the Mauritius economy and in particular its global business sector. Incidentally, treaties with countries like France and the Netherlands with similar tax treaties as Mauritius have not been subject to any renegotiations. As global business companies will either shut down or migrate from Mauritius as a result of these developments engineered by the regulator in India, a large population of Mauritius’s skilled professionals in the financial services will become unemployed.

Many in the financial services industry believe that the way in which India has targeted Mauritius is incomprehensible and suspicious as there are no justifiable reasons to place Mauritius on that High Risk list nor has India provided any tangible evidence to date. There seems to be a deliberate attempt on the part of India to malign Mauritius. Some more charitable minds believe it is just geo-politics being played by a formerly jilted lover.

Although this news has been circulating for a few days now, sadly the authorities in Mauritius have quietly and passively been watching events unfold to the detriment of the country. What a sorry state our country has become.

Isn’t it time now for Mauritius to start wooing countries like China, Pakistan and others and close the chapter with India as a nightmare.

India is no longer the Big Brother to Mauritius… Singapore is smiling!

With brothers like India, who needs an enemy!

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