India, Seychelles agree to go ahead with the Assumption Island Naval base
New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that India and Seychelles have agreed to work together on the Assmption Island Naval base project keeping in mind each other’s interest in this regard.
The Prime Minister made this announcement while making a press statement during the State visit of President of Seychelles Danny Faure to India.
Coinciding with Faure’s visit to India, there have been reports pointing that Opposition members in the Seychelles Parliament said that theu would not allow India to build a naval base on the island of Assumption taking the plea that it would compromise the country’s sovereignty.
As close partners, Modi today said, it is our shared responsibility that we ensure collective maritime security of our EEZ and coastal areas. We have threats from international crimes like piracy, drugs, human trafficking, and illegal exploitation of maritime resources. We need to increase our cooperation and alertness against these. India is committed to strengthen Seychelles’ defence capabilities and maritime infrastructure and increase the capacity of its defence personnel. This will enable Seychelles to effectively deal with both traditional and non-conventional maritime challenges and to protect its maritime resources. In this context, I am happy to announce a credit line of US $ 100 million for Seychelles. From this credit line Seychelles will be able to purchase defence equipment from India to build its maritime capacity. The second Dornier aircraft which I had promised during my visit to Seychelles in March 2015 is ready to be handed over tomorrow. You all have seen its model just now. It will arrive there on time to participate in the National Day festival of Seychelles on June 29.
The Indian prime Minister further said We are widely collaborating to undertake hydrography surveys to improve the availability of navigation charts. As part of this effort, we have signed an MOU today for the exchange of White Shipping Data. During our discussions today, I have reiterated India’s commitment towards effective contributions to projects of national importance in Seychelles. These projects will not only help Seychelles’ economy but they will also help to further intensify our mutual relations.
Under the Special grant, India is ready to finance three civilian infrastructure projects in Seychelles. These include Government House, new Police Headquarters and Attorney General’s Office.
Today, Modi announced, an MoU also has been signed, under which India will provide financial assistance to Seychelles to start some high quality, high visibility and people-centric Small Development Projects. President Faure has been assured that India will always remain committed to increase the capacity development of Seychelles by providing training to their defence personnel including the common citizens of Seychelles under ITEC and other such programs. Indian experts will be sent to Seychelles on deputation in the areas as required by Seychelles. Contribution of the Indian community in the economy of Seychelles is a matter of pride for us. Shared culture between the two countries is a matter of pride and it provides many possibilities to further intensify our relations, Modi added.
The Indian Prime Minister tyhanked President Faure for gifting two big Aldabra turtles. We have received such long living turtles from Seychelles earlier also, he said adding they are witness to three centuries. Creatures like this and other animals and flora and fauna are looked upon with great reverence and love in India. These long-living turtles will also be a symbol of our eternal friendship and its auspicious effects.
Modi further said: “Since the independence of Seychelles in June 1976, there have been special relations between both our democratic countries. Today, India and Seychelles are key strategic partners. We both support the core values of democracy and equally share geo-strategic vision of maintaining peace, security and stability in the Indian Ocean.
India and Seychelles are linked together with the Indian Ocean. Sustainable development of ocean economy in a secured maritime environment is very crucial for prosperity of our citizens. We can only take advantage of opportunities provided by the ocean by successfully confronting conventional and non-conventional threats. In our talks today, we have reiterated our commitment towards working jointly to take full advantage of ocean based Blue Economy. There is a deep strategic convergence on cooperation between us to deal with maritime challenges.”