The treaty signed between India and Mauritius in 1983, a decade before India opened its door to foreign investors made Mauritius the most favored route to invest in India. Many foreign companies incorporated a holding company in Mauritius which held shares in an Indian company. The sale of shares in Indian company would not result in capital gains tax in India and Mauritius- thereby making it a preferred vehicle for foreign investment.
According to government data, from 2000 – 2015, about $94 billion, a third of all foreign direct investment into India, came via Mauritius. It was a boon to the Indian economy at the brink of liberalization in 1990’s, but gave rise to “round tripping” i.e., Income on which taxes were not paid was routed via Mauritius companies to avoid tax, revenue loss and treaty abuse. (more…)