With an eye on China, India renews outreach to Seychelles

An archipelago of 115 islands off the coast of East Africa, Seychelles virtually disappears when the world map is zoomed out. However, its strategic significance for India’s diplomatic endeavors in the Indian Ocean maritime space is only set to increase, especially against the backdrop of China’s increasing forays in the pristine islands.
In this context, the recent visit of India’s Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to Seychelles on October 10 was significant to allay some of the concerns raised by the Seychelles government over the agreement on India’s build-up of military infrastructure on Assumption Island.
There have been reports floating around that suggest that there are forces within the Seychelles government who are trying to hinder India’s infrastructural ambitions in these islands. In his last press conference in August, Seychelles’ President Danny Faure had said: “We would like to relook at the agreement which does not have a legal statute on the Seychelles side. But for India, it has a legal statute. We have to go back to the drawing board.” The reason for that could be attributed to the growing intimacy with China Read more..

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Blue Economy: India, Seychelles take a leap forward

In a major leap forward for New Delhi’s interests in the strategic Indian Ocean region, India and Seychelles have signed a pact for cooperation on Blue Economy to promote sustainable ocean development in the region. India has decided to gift one more Interceptor Coastguard boat to Seychelles, and formally signed a pact for giving a second Dornier aircraft to the Indian Ocean island nation, a key commitment made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Seychelles in March this year.

“In March, I had announced that we would gift a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles. I am pleased that we have completed the process quickly and signed the agreement today,” Mr Modi said in a joint media interaction with Seychelles President James Alix Michel in New Delhi on August 25.

“President and I place strong emphasis on Ocean or Blue Economy. I believe, as he does, that we should look at small island countries as large ocean states with vast potential”, said Mr Modi.

“We are honoured to be a partner in providing aircraft, naval vessels and coastal radar systems for strengthening surveillance capacities. Our cooperation in hydrography surveys is extensive and growing,” Mr Modi stressed.

India’s burgeoning cooperation with Seychelles comes against Beijing’s growing forays into the Indian Ocean region, which New Delhi is prone to regard as its backyard.

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