Border flare-ups in the Himalayas between India and China have long been a feature of international politics, yet, curiously, the two countries now find themselves rubbing shoulders in the less hostile terrain of distant Mauritius. Is the tiny Indian Ocean island big enough for both Asian giants? Mauritian ambitions as a financial centre involve both India and China playing big parts in its future. As it reinvents itself as an active launch pad for investors in Africa — from being, in the past, primarily a place to store offshore wealth — Mauritius wants to deepen its existing ties to India while cultivating new ones with China. "We don’t have to make choices — we want to be friends," says Rama Sithanen, the chair of local financial services group IFS and a former minister of finance. "We’ve never been asked to make those choices." On the other hand, relations with New Delhi and Beijing appear to be pulling Mauritius in different directions. The island aims to maintain political and...

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