ISLAMABAD - President Mamnoon Hussain and President of Mauritius Dr Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim agreed here Monday on strengthening ties in diverse areas including education, health and trade.

In a one-on-one meeting held here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, the two sides emphasized on close collaboration for the mutual benefit of their countries.

President Mamnoon said Pakistan gives high importance to its relations with Mauritius that span over decades.

He said the current volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Mauritius did not match their true potential and emphasized for a Free Trade Agreement to enhance business activity.

Mamnoon expressed satisfaction over the interaction between the Federation of Pakistan Chambers and Mauritius Chambers. He also called for establishing air links between Pakistan and Mauritius for the promotion of trade, tourism and people-to-people contacts.

He said that Pakistan was contributing significantly to the financial sector of Mauritius and mentioned that three branches of a prominent Pakistani bank were already working in Mauritius. Also, Pakistani doctors are providing free medical services at some hospitals in Mauritius, he added.

President Mamnoon welcomed the training of Mauritian students at Pakistani educational institutions in the fields of medicine, engineering and pharmacy. He said Pakistan and Mauritius hold unanimity of views on several international matters.

He said exchange programmes for students, educational experts, businessmen and parliamentarians would strengthen relations between the people of two countries.

President Dr Ameenah Firdaus proposed celebration of ‘Pakistan Week’ in Mauritius and holding of exhibitions for the promotion of Pakistani culture, society and commodities.

Dr Ameenah, who is a biodiversity scientist, lauded the quality of Pakistani educational institutions especially the Hussain Jamal Ibrahim Institute of Chemistry.

She extended invitation to President Mamnoon to visit Mauritius, which he accepted. The two sides also held delegation-level talks. Minister of State for Information Technology Anousha Rehman, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry and High Commissioner to Mauritius Lt Gen. (retd) Tariq Rasheed Khan represented the Pakistani side.

The Mauritian side was joined by President Mauritius-Pakistan Joint Business Council Shehzad Ahmed and High Commissioner to Pakistan Yusuf Elahee.

Earlier, President of Mauritius was given guard of honour on her arrival at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

President Mamnoon greeted the Mauritian President at the presidency who had earlier arrived in the capital from Karachi on Sunday. A contingent of tri-services guard presented guard of honour to the visiting dignitary, who also reviewed the parade. The national anthems of the two countries were played.

President Mamnoon also hosted a banquet lunch for the President of Mauritius at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The event among others was attended by President of Azad Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Yaqub, Governor Punjab Rafiq Rajwana, Minister-in-Waiting Anousha Rehman, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi, National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Mauritius Maj Gen (retd) Tariq Rasheed Khan.