VICTORIA: Marking a significant upswing in India’s maritime security partnership with its Indian Ocean neighbours, India and Seychelles have inked four pacts in diverse areas, including hydrography, with New Delhi announcing a second Dornier aircraft for the archipelago nation.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Seychelles President James Alix Michel in the capital Victoria which focused on enhancing maritime security apparatus of the strategically located archipelago.
“Seychelles is a vital partner in our Indian Ocean neighbourhood. Short it may be, but this visit has been very productive,” Mr Modi said during the talks.
“It is no surprise that Seychelles is my first destination in the Indian Ocean Region,” he added.
The two countries signed four pacts which included cooperation in hydrography, renewable energy, infrastructure development and sale of navigation charts and electronic navigational charts.
Mr Modi formally launched the Coastal Surveillance Radar Project, a signature project of India that aims at bolstering surveillance capabilities of the island nation. “Our security partnership is strong. It has enabled us to fulfil our shared responsibility to advance maritime security in the region.” The Indian leader announced his decision to gift another Dornier aircraft to Seychelles.
He also unveiled India’s decision to grant free visas for three months to the citizens of Seychelles. “We also hope that Seychelles will soon be a full partner in the maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka,” he added.
Mr Modi reached Victoria, the capital of Seychelles, on March 10 as the first stop of his three-nation tour.
After Seychelles, he will visit Mauritius on March 11-12 and Sri Lanka on March 13-14. He is accompanied by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar.
Modi is the first Indian prime minister to visit Seychelles in 34 years since Indira Gandhi had visited the country in 1981.
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