India-Seychelles pacts to boost security

Published on March 12, 2015 17:58:58 PM
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Seeking to expand its footprint in the strategic Indian Ocean, India on Wednesday agreed to help Seychelles in mapping its hydrology reserves under four agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who launched a coastal surveillance radar project to boost security cooperation with the island nation. The Prime Minister also announced that India will give a second Dornier maritime patrol aircraft to Seychelles and provide free of cost visas for three months for its citizens and making it available to them on arrival.

-After one-to-one and delegation-level talks with Seychelles President James Alix Michel, Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles in 34 years, also said they underlined the importance of comprehensive cooperation in the Indian Ocean region
-Amid increasing Chinese focus on the Indian Ocean, India is aiming to pitch in with all help to island nations like Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka

After one-to-one and delegation-level talks with Seychelles President James Alix Michel, Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles in 34 years, also said they underlined the importance of comprehensive cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. "We expressed support for a more active and productive Indian Ocean Rim Association," Modi, who arrived here yesterday on the first leg of his three-nation tour, told reporters. He also launched the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project, describing it as another symbol of the cooperation between the two countries.

Amid increasing Chinese focus on the Indian Ocean, India is aiming to pitch in with all help to island nations like Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka. China has been making inroads into these island nations with infrastructure projects that has raised India's eyebrows. The first CSR would be based in Mahe Island, capital of Seychelles. "This is part of the capability enhancement project for Seychelles in which India is helping," official sources said, adding that it will help keep a watch on the coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and combat piracy.

Modi and Michel witnessed the signing of four agreements: cooperation in hydrographic survey, renewable energy, infrastructure development and jointly develop navigation charts and electronic navigational charts for sale to other countries. "Our agreement today on hydrographic survey adds a new dimension to our maritime cooperation. I thank Seychelles for their confidence in India," Modi said. "I am pleased to announce that we will be giving one more Dornier aircraft to Seychelles," he added.

India had given the first Dornier aircraft to Seychelles in 2013. "Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfil our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region," he said. "It is a privilege to be a partner of Seychelles in the development of its security capabilities," Modi said, adding India's help will enable Seychelles to secure its beautiful islands and the vast expanse of waters around them.

Meanwhile, Modi on Wednesday arrived in Mauritius from Seychelles on the second leg of his three-nation tour that will also take him to Sri Lanka. Modi met Mauritius President Rajkeswur Purryag and Premier Anerood Jugnauth in the Mauritian capital Port Louis on Wednesday.