Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Seychelles has triggered a quid pro quo reaction. Seychelles’ President James Michel is scheduled to visit India in the last week of August. PM Modi had visited Seychelles earlier in March 2015.
Historically, both the countries have shared cordial relations with each other. Indira Gandhi was the first Prime Minister to visit Seychelles in 1976 and 1981. The visits were said to be successful with substantive outcomes which included inter alia signing of four agreements/MoUs, inauguration of the Coastal Surveillance Radar System (CSRS) project, an announcement to gift a second Dornier aircraft to Seychelles and three-month gratis visa for Seychelles nationals for travel to India. She also addressed a public gathering of 4,000 people which was the highlight and included members of the Indian community.
PM Modi became only the second Indian Prime Minister to visit Seychelles and after a gap of 34 years. During his visit India and Seychelles signed four agreements. These include a MoU on Renewable Energy Cooperation, MoU for Cooperation in the field of Hydrography, Protocol on Sale of Navigational Charts / Electronic Navigational Charts and Agreement on the Development of Facilities on Assumption Island.
India and Seychelles have a strong and elaborate arrangement regarding defence and security which has grown over the years. Some of the areas where both countries cooperate include tackling piracy menace and economic offences in the Indian Ocean region. With China strengthening its presence in the Indian Ocean region, Seychelles is also strategically very important for India’s interests in the Indian Ocean region. Having a strong defence and security collaboration with Seychelles, it makes it easier for India to enhance cooperation in the region.
India has also helped in providing developmental assistance to Seychelles over the year. During former President Pratibha Patil’s visit to the country in 2012, India had announced a line of credit worth USD 50 million to Seychelles apart from an additional grant of USD 25 million.
The reciprocity of Seychelles President Michel’s visit to India shows that bilateral relations between both countries is gaining momentum and is expected to grow further.
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